During the Covid-19 pandemic, the marketplace of both Walmart, as well as Amazon, has surged following a series of investments not only in technology but also in vendor relationships.
During the years from 2009-2014, Walmart’s marketplace where outside merchants hawk everything from baby blankets to power tools, counted no more than six sellers, and was described by one expert as “in limbo.” However, it grew to an estimated 70,000 sellers in 2020 with the global pandemic acting as the catalyst. Moreover, it is anticipated to hike 146% by the end of 2022, according to projections by data firm Marketplace Pulse, although they have not yet been published.
Considering the fact that Walmart has always distinguished itself as a safer, less crowded marketplace than its rivals like Amazon, making it easier for merchants to stand out and sell products, still there is a loophole to it. Looking at the darker side, this rapid growth has started to endorse stress on the system as mentioned by a few merchants, a growing number of who worry that if the pace picks up, Walmart risks damaging its reputation as a haven for quality sellers. Reuters spoke with vendors from Walmart.com and Amazon, analytics companies that help merchants sell on marketplaces, industry experts, consultants and executives.
“A year or two ago, every brand on Walmart.com would be trustworthy but now it’s getting very similar to Amazon and that’s a huge risk,” said Cal Chan, who sells supplements and skincare products on both Walmart and Amazon. “Amazon let everyone under the sun in – that helped them grow, but now they’re trying to clean up the riff-raff and it’s very hard to close Pandora’s Box.”
Whatsoever, this giant retail owner,(Walmart) is now expected to see a surge of new vendors after it said last month it will open its online store to international merchants, which are less accountable to U.S. consumer protection laws. Walmart has already added over 130 new Chinese sellers. Nevertheless, they intend to neither lower their bar nor change their vetting standards, or monitoring of sellers. As claimed by Jeff Clementz, Vice President of Walmart Marketplace they are just aiming to attract the best from around the world. Walmart said its sourcing teams in other countries have begun vetting potential sellers by their reviews, licensing permissions, reputations, and items.
Sales generated by Amazon’s third-party vendors totaled $189 billion last year in the United States, or nearly 60% of the company’s total U.S. retail e-commerce sales, according to eMarketer data from Insider Intelligence.
Nonetheless, Bradley Sutton, who works at third-party seller consulting firm Helium 10 makes a remark, “Walmart has something Amazon can’t match: brick-and-mortar stores. If you do well on Walmart.com, there’s potential you can get into a regular Walmart. It’s like the Holy Grail for vendors. That’s way bigger than Amazon.”