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Will Walmart Marketplace become the retail giant’s focus for e-commerce expansion?

Walmart added fuel to its digital marketplace expansion with a in-person event for third-party vendors. The Walmart Marketplace Summit, which began on August 30, invited merchants of all sizes to participate to help Walmart further develop its digital offerings.

Walmart also announced plans to expand its marketplace, which currently operates in the US, Canada and Mexico, to Chile next year. This will allow cross-border sellers to expand their international reach and could provide an additional boost to Walmart’s e-commerce business in the country.

In addition, the retail giant continues to roll out dedicated digital brand storefronts called Brand Shops, which give third-party sellers additional control over their pages with options such as curated assortments and seasonal selections. It has also created “new opportunities to reach more customers,” incl Walmart businesswhich is dedicated to B2B marketers, i Walmart restoredwhich allows resale.

Walmart also works with third-party vendors to offer local pickup and delivery for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores, with options for shoppers to choose in-store pickup or same-day delivery. Walmart Fulfillment Services, the retail giant’s end-to-end fulfillment solution, is available for bulky items like trampolines.

Walmart Market exists since 2009, but the retailer has made more efforts to grow the service in recent years. For example, Walmart entered into a partnership with Shopify in 2020 to open up the market to more small sellers, and it was offered limited time discounts for new sellers in early 2023.

It’s not hard to see why: Marketplaces are an attractive proposition for retailers on both sides of the equation.

Small and medium-sized retailers can expand their reach by getting their products in front of Walmart customers and 77% of respondents said their goal for entering a market was to reach more customersaccording to a survey by Digital Commerce 360. The study also found that the average respondent earned 38% of their global sales through marketplaces.

For large retailers like Walmart that can handle the logistics of a marketplace, the advantage is carrying a selection of items beyond the usual assortment of SKUs. Manish Joneja, vice president of Walmart Marketplace and Walmart Fulfillment Services, noted in a press release that Walmart Marketplace gives customers “access to what they want, regardless of whether Walmart or an outside seller owns the inventory.”

A growing market also gives Walmart another avenue to compete with Amazon, which is an area where Walmart still has a lot of catching up to do. As of January, it was around 50,000 active sellers on their platform compared to Amazon’s 493,000, according to data from Zentail. So while Walmart has saturated brick and mortar with thousands of stores, it still has plenty of room to grow online. Amazon has 37% of e-commerce salescompared to Walmart’s 6.4% share, according to Insider Intelligence.

Still, Walmart is trying. Has launched a Prime Day competitor, offers a subscription program to rival Amazon Prime, and even I was looking to build a better website than earlier this year. While Amazon has a huge advantage, Walmart is also dedicated to taking its brick-and-mortar dominance online.


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