Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify only takes a few clicks — but then comes the hard work of attracting a customer base.
Selling on marketplaces can be a great way for ecommerce beginners and veterans alike to speed up dropshipping business growth. And while eBay and Amazon might be obvious choices, budding entrepreneurs can often reach many more buyers on Walmart’s online marketplace, where there are millions of potential customers perusing Walmart.com.
The best part? It’s easy to integrate your Walmart dropshipping business with your Shopify store.
So is dropshipping on Walmart’s platform worth it? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Walmart dropshipping?
Walmart dropshipping is when a merchant sells products on Walmart Marketplace and outsources the entire order fulfillment process to a third party. Merchants create a seller account with Walmart and then source products from dropshipping suppliers before shipping orders to the customer base on the merchant’s behalf.
When a merchant lists an item on Walmart Marketplace, that product becomes available for sale on Walmart.com alongside millions of other products on the retailer’s online store.
Why dropship on Walmart’s marketplace?
Dropshipping on Walmart Marketplace is similar to dropshipping on other online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, with a few key differences. Amazon dropshipping, for example, charges more fees — one reason 39% of Amazon merchants are considering Walmart Marketplace. Additionally, Walmart has a fairly rigorous vetting process, so the overall product quality on Walmart.com is generally better than Amazon or eBay, both of which have minimal vetting processes (if any).
Take a look at some of the key advantages for dropshippers on Walmart:
No upfront costs
Starting a dropshipping business requires minimal upfront investment, and dropshipping on Walmart Marketplace is no exception. Walmart doesn’t charge any setup, monthly, or subscription fees. You don’t need to pay anything to get started.
Instead of charging merchants for access, Walmart has a fee structure in place where merchants owe a commission or referral fee for each sale — so you won’t have to pay until you start making money. Walmart charges different referral fees depending on the product category. Most referral fees fall between 8% and 15%, with some exceptions. Walmart automates payout deductions, and there’s no additional credit card processing fee.
Walmart has invested heavily in its ecommerce presence, and the effort has paid off. Walmart.com boasts as many as 100 million unique visitors each month — online shoppers who have a trust and interest in the brand. Leveraging the traffic opportunities from Walmart.com means less pressure to drive traffic to your own online store.
How to start dropshipping on Walmart
Walmart requires sellers go through an application process so it can review and approve merchants that match their quality and brand standards. Let’s walk through the process step-by-step.
1. Find dropshipping suppliers and products to sell
Your first step is to do some product research to figure out what products you want to sell on Walmart. The key to choosing the best dropshipping products to sell is to identify items with relatively high profit margins, measurable demand, affordable shipping costs, and the ability to scale rapidly.
Don’t be afraid to identify a niche and get super specific with your offering. This will make it easier to select a target customer and develop marketing and promotion strategies catered to their behavior.
TIP: Because of Walmart’s fairly lengthy approval process, you’ll want to stay away from trending products — at least at the start. There’s no telling how long it will take for your listings to go live, so you’ll want to launch with dropshipping products with consistent demand.
Beyond that, you’ll need to find products for which you can source high-quality and reliable suppliers. It’s important to work with reputable dropshipping suppliers who can work with you to meet your business needs. As a final check, you’ll need to make sure your ideas aren’t on Walmart’s list of prohibited products.
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2. Apply to be a Walmart Marketplace Seller
All merchants must apply to be Walmart suppliers before going live. It’s worth noting that you want to join Walmart as a Warehouse Supplier, not as part of their Drop Ship Vendor Program (called the Walmart DSV program for short). Walmart Drop Ship Vendors are typically high-volume suppliers, are subject to additional requirements, and must be invited by a Walmart category specialist.
Once you have your product idea and suppliers lined up and you know what you’re going to sell, you’re ready to start the application process, which takes most new merchants roughly 15 minutes.
Walmart requires the following information:
- US Business Tax ID: You can’t use your personal social security number.
- Business address: Walmart sellers must be based in the U.S.
- W9 or W8 and EIN Verification Letter from the Department of Treasury: This verifies your business address.
- Planned integration method for your product catalog: This might be bulk upload, API, or a solution provider.
- Primary product categories, catalog size, and other information: This may include total SKUs as well as verified UPC information for what you plan to launch with on Walmart.com. Note whether the products are new, used, or refurbished.
Walmart specifically looks for sellers who:
- Are reputable and reliable
- Commit to “first-class customer service” — this means on-time shipping, no or very few order cancellations, and others
- Have a “compelling” product collection
- Price competitively
- Fulfill orders quickly and efficiently
When applying, look for ways to demonstrate you meet the above criteria. Once you’ve applied, be prepared to wait — applications are competitive and can take a long time. You can sign Walmart’s Retailer Agreement in the meantime.
3. Complete the Walmart Marketplace onboarding process
Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you’re ready to start Walmart’s onboarding process. You’ll receive an email with an update on your application status and a link to sign up and register for Seller Central.
After you’ve registered, you can populate your seller profile with information about your business, as well as connect your bank and payment portals.
4. Manage your product listings in Shopify
Next, you’ll need to integrate your products and platforms with Walmart Marketplace. There are a few options, including bulk upload, open API, and integrations. Walmart doesn’t have a maximum or minimum for SKUs, so you can get started with as many or as little as you want. Regardless of the upload option you choose, you’ll be able to customize your catalog and set shipping rules, refunds and return policies, and prices, including promotional pricing.
If you integrate with Shopify’s ecommerce platform, you’ll need to install the app and then you can sync products, inventory, and orders. You can optimize sales on Walmart Marketplace while managing all transactions in your Shopify admin dashboard. There are no additional monthly fees for integrating Shopify and Walmart.
Top tips for dropshipping on Walmart
Walmart is an increasingly competitive marketplace that presents plenty of opportunity for the right dropshipping entrepreneurs. Keep the following tips in mind if you pursue this route.
Delight customers with fast shipping
Online shoppers expect companies to ship products for free. As many as 68% of shoppers would feel more motivated to place an online order if fast shipping is part of the deal. Walmart.com also offers free returns, so you’ll want to plan for that as well.
For shoppers needing their products faster, Walmart offers two-day and three-day delivery options for an additional fee (per one survey, “fast” shipping means waiting one or two days at most). The marketplace claims sellers see a 30–50% average increase in conversion when offering two- and three-day delivery times. Plus, Walmart rewards those merchants with more visibility, including placement in the exclusive Buy Box. It’s important to find dropshipping suppliers that can keep up with this pace.
Keep a close eye on your performance standards
Over time, Walmart has been increasing its standards for sellers who are eligible to list their items for sale on the marketplace. As such, it’s important to stay on top of your performance metrics — Walmart actively looks out for which sellers and products are performing best and then rewards them with more visibility and, thus, traffic.
Walmart has Seller Performance Standards with specific measurable targets sellers should aim to hit:
- 90-day order defect rate (ODR): <2%
- On-time shipment rate: >99%
- Valid tracking rate: >99%
You can check out your data in the Seller Center under the Analytics > Performance section. Here, you can see a Seller Scorecard with your ODR and on-time shipment rate. You can also see customer reviews, which Walmart also takes into account. Under Fulfillment, you’ll see your shipping data where you can check valid tracking rate and more.
If you fail to meet Walmart’s standards, it may put your account under sanction.
Optimize your product listings
Once you’ve uploaded your Walmart products to your account, it’s time to make some product listing optimizations to make your product pages convert. Some key tips to improve product pages include:
- Use high-quality product photography.
- Write compelling product descriptions that focus on product instead of features.
- Price competitively, but not so low that you don’t make a profit.
- Provide great customer service so people leave positive reviews.
For simplified, centralized management, you can integrate your Walmart dropshipping with your Shopify store. When you install the Walmart Marketplace Shopify app, you can:
- Use bulk setup and editing to create and manage unlimited product listings.
- Connect existing listings on Walmart.com to Shopify products for central management.
- Sync inventory across channels to avoid overselling.
- Manage order notifications, fulfillment, and transactions centrally from the Shopify dashboard.
Maximize your reach on Walmart Marketplace
The most successful dropshipping models count diversification as a key to success — not just in the range of products sold, but in the channels used to reach customers.
Dropshipping Walmart products can be a lot of work — but it’s worth the effort, especially when combining your Walmart store with Shopify. Introduce your brand to millions of new shoppers on Walmart's curated marketplace, dedicated to high quality and authentic products.