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Walmart Opens Marketplace to US-Based Shopify Sellers

Two retail giants are partnering up to give U.S. small businesses yet another grand stage in front of a nationwide audience as shoppers rapidly shift online. Walmart is opening its Walmart Marketplace to 1,200 Shopify sellers in 2020. The partnership will greatly expand the reach of the participating brands by placing them in front of Walmart Marketplace’s 120 million monthly visitors.

Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce business grew 74 percent in the past quarter as shoppers flocked to the website amid the expanded demand for essentials products as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. But the retailer says its marketplace growth actually outpaced the overall e-commerce business.

For now, the integrated sellers will be U.S.-based SMBs whose assortments complement Walmart’s and already have a track record of exceeding customers’ expectations.

With the integration, Shopify will automatically keep merchants’ products synced with Walmart.com, so sellers can track products, orders, inventory and fulfillment right from within Shopify. Shopify’s Walmart channel also will allow merchants to add and manage product information in bulk, all from one dashboard, when connecting to Walmart.com.

“We’re excited to be able to offer customers an expanded assortment while also giving small businesses access to the surging traffic on Walmart.com,” Jeff Clementz, vice president, Walmart Marketplace, wrote in a company blog post. “Shopify powers a dynamic portfolio of third-party sellers who are interested in growing their business through new, trusted channels. This integration will allow approved Shopify sellers to seamlessly list their items on Walmart.com, which gives Walmart customers access to a broader assortment.”

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The realities of the COVID-19 retailing environment are causing Walmart to put more emphasis on its e-commerce offerings in general. The retailer’s other efforts include a partnership with thredUP to enhance Walmart.com with a range of resale apparel, and the expansion of its “store to door” non-contact Express Delivery option to nearly 1,000 stores in early May.

In recent years, Walmart has sought to make its own marketplace a more competitive offering as it goes toe-to-toe with Amazon. The e-commerce giant’s marketplace enables third-party sellers to reach more than 300 million customers worldwide and offers the Fulfillment by Amazon service, in which Amazon takes care of shipping, returns and customer service for the seller. As a countermeasure, Walmart announced in late 2018 that marketplace sellers could participate in its free, two-day shipping program and would be eligible for in-store returns.

Shopify sellers are being invited to install the Walmart Marketplace app from Shopify’s App Store and determine their eligibility. Sellers don’t pay any fees to list their products on Walmart.com, and will only pay referral fees when they make sales.

Shopify, which is used by more than 1 million businesses, has made a considered effort to boost its visibility and capability for its small business clientele, especially during the pandemic. Shopify already launched its consumer-facing Shopify Shop app in April to give local businesses direct mobile access to more shoppers. In May, the company launched a new finance management platform and merchant debit card, an installment payments option and increased access to its Shopify Fulfillment Network.

To further extend small businesses a boost, the company also rolled out a Local Delivery app that enables businesses to define a delivery area using distance radius or zip/postal codes, set local delivery fees and minimum order price, and fulfill local orders through Shopify.

“At Shopify, we’re focused on helping entrepreneurs go from just an idea to becoming thriving, scalable businesses. By partnering with Walmart, we will be able to connect merchants with consumers across America within a trusted marketplace, helping merchants drive new sales while consumers discover new products they’ll love,” said Satish Kanwar, vice president of product at Shopify. “Our expertise in multi-channel commerce, combined with Walmart’s reach, will allow us to create better online shopping experiences for merchants and consumers alike.”