According to Franco Valentino, technical SEO consultant and founder of NarrativeSEO,
“Businesses looking for an audience should applaud this bold move by Walmart. The third-party ecosystem is Amazon's blue ocean, and Walmart was late to the beach.
"If store owners (Shopify especially) can plug into the substantial traffic feed behind Walmart.com, they can expect a lift in sales and significant brand awareness. This is an opportunity for both Walmart and the thousands of Shopify store owners that depend on their audience for continued growth."
When combined with other competitive benefits such as a no-cost account hosting and free return policy for their customers (neither which Amazon offers), it provides a convincing value prop for many small to medium-sized retailers looking to protect margins.
For those that market and sell physical products online (or have the opportunity to do so), Walmart’s strategic efforts in making its marketplace a more attractive option should not be ignored.
What this means for online retail businesses
In comparison to Amazon’s sprawling seller network, Walmart is still in the “adolescent” stage, given its e-commerce business makes up only a small portion of its total sales. There’s certainly some growing up to do.
However, over recent years, Walmart has worked to level-up this area of the business via mergers and acquisitions and other initiatives, including this most recent partnership with Shopify. CNN Business reports that, “Walmart's online sales grew 74% last quarter, and growth in its third-party marketplace outpaced growth of first-party sales.”
Despite the global pandemic having a massive influence on online buyer behavior over the last few months, the numbers here indicate this is just the tip of the spear that will fuel a continued push from Walmart to bring more sellers and buyers to its platform.
So the question becomes: As a business that operates a Shopify store, do you consider a transition to (or integration with) Walmart’s marketplace?
For comparison, consider this question in relation to earlier days of Facebook’s ad platform.
This time, Walmart.com might be the “under-priced” platform in this marketplace race.
Now may be the ideal time for businesses to begin investing in Walmart’s platform to take advantage of potentially lower ad prices, less noise, and decreased competition levels in comparison to Amazon’s marketplace.