Back to blog

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.

Learn About Coaching

What Is Walmart Fulfillment Services?

Threecolts
Geri Mileva
Published
May 13, 2024
Modified
May 13, 2024
What is Walmart fulfillment services

Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) is Walmart Marketplace’s answer to the difficulties that online retailers face with shipping their goods. It’s an end-to-end fulfillment service that takes advantage of Walmart’s vast distribution network across the United States, helping your products reach your customers with minimal cost and trouble for you and them.

Walmart may have less than 10% market share compared to the e-commerce giant Amazon, but its steady growth makes it an attractive option for anyone looking to sell online.

If you’re looking to get started with online retail with Walmart and are looking into your fulfillment options, here’s a guide on how Walmart Fulfillment Services can work for you.

How Does Walmart Fulfillment Services Work?

WFS is only available to anyone who’s become a Walmart Marketplace seller. Unlike Amazon’s fulfillment services, you’ll have to apply for the WFS program—it’s not an automatically available option once you’ve set up your marketplace.

Here are the steps you need to follow to apply:

  1. Apply for the WFS program from your Marketplace Dashboard.
  2. Make sure your product meets Walmart’s requirements for WFS:
    1. Up to 500 lbs.
    2. Maximum package dimensions of 120″ x 105″ x 93″
    3. No regulated or perishable items that require temperature control
    4. Eligible for shipping to Walmart fulfillment centers within the contiguous U.S.
  3. Once you’ve been approved, create an inbound order from the Manage Inventory section on your Marketplace Dashboard.
  4. Choose which carrier you want your products to be shipped through, then package your products for sending.
  5. Drop off your products at the indicated shipping center.

The carrier will store, pick, and pack your products to ship them to your customers. You can even take the option of having the carrier take care of product prep and item labeling for a small fee per unit. There’s also the option to choose WFS to ship items that require multiple boxes without any additional fees, which can be useful for products that need to be shipped in a disassembled state.

WFS doesn’t require an inventory or order minimum from its sellers, but Walmart recommends that sellers have at least 50 items with the capability to continually restock their inventory to meet demand. You don’t have to create new listings to apply for WFS either, as you can convert your regular listings to “Fulfilled by Walmart” straight from your Product Catalog in your Marketplace Dashboard.

Why Use Walmart Fulfillment Services?

While there are some situations where it would be better to take personal care of your fulfillment, Walmart’s WFS is going to be the best option for most sellers. Here are some of the major benefits of using WFS.

No need to worry about customer concerns and returns

Any customer service complaints, product returns, and other issues with your goods are handled directly by Walmart’s WFS Customer support team. A WFS Associate will always be available to address any issues that your customers may have, and any returns are covered with Walmart’s Free & Easy Returns program.

Get more visibility on your products

WFS products are displayed with the “Two-Day Delivery” and “Fulfilled by Walmart” tags, which rank higher in search results on Walmart Marketplace. This increases the visibility of your products, potentially increasing the volume of your sales.

Optimize your sales performance

WFS displays real-time data about your sales and performance while giving you plenty of oversight about the delivery process. While your products are secured by Walmart’s extensive distribution channels, you can also opt to check your inventory, order tracking, and shipments via the Seller Center, direct APIs, or even integrations with platforms like ChannelAdvisor.

Improve your customer’s purchase experience

WFS products are qualified for free shipping if your customer has Walmart+, which can be beneficial if your products need to be purchased often or in bulk. Items are also stocked and reflected in your product listings as soon as 2 days after arriving at Walmart’s warehouses to easily meet customer demands.

Easy-to-understand pricing model

Walmart also offers a simple pricing model for products you sell under WFS. Item fees are usually calculated via weight and size, with prices ranging from $3.45 to $17.55. Additional fees like storage are already accounted for with the final pricing for WFS, with no hidden fees or surcharges. Sellers can also opt to check the possible pricing model themselves with Walmart’s tools.

Limitations of Walmart Fulfillment Services

While WFS can help you get your fulfillment up and running without too much trouble, keep in mind that there are some limitations to using the service. Three of the most significant drawbacks of using Walmart Fulfillment Services include:

Only being able to ship within the United States

Walmart’s distribution channels only cover the entirety of the United States, which means you’ll have to make other arrangements if you’re planning on shipping your orders internationally. This can be an issue if you’re planning to rapidly expand and grow your business since you’ll be limited to catering to customers within the US.

Items must be on Walmart’s Marketplace

Unlike Amazon FBA, Walmart has no multi-channel fulfillment capabilities, which means any product you want to enter in WFS must be sold on Walmart.com. Your WFS inventory and fulfillment options are limited to the orders placed through your Marketplace, which can be an issue if you’re looking into expanding your sales channels for more profits and visibility.

Stricter product requirements

Your products must also meet Walmart’s strict regulations, which can limit the variety of products you can sell and ship through WFS. While you can still sell products that fall outside of WFS requirements, you won’t be able to take advantage of Walmart’s distribution channels, which can affect customer experience and satisfaction.

walmart fulfillment limitations - Stricter product requirements

How To Grow Your Sales With WFS Products

It’s important to note that simply qualifying your products for WFS doesn’t guarantee that they’ll sell well—only that they have a much higher chance of performing better compared to products that aren’t under the WFS program. To grow your sales and your business, you’ll need to put in work of your own to make sure that your products will sell well.

Fortunately, Walmart itself already provides sellers with all the tools they need to improve their sales. Alongside the ones you can find in Seller Central and other tools you can use outside of Walmart, here are other things you can do to grow your WFS sales:

Always ensure that your inventory is stocked

Walmart-Fulfilled Inventory always has to be in stock, as its high visibility and premier fulfillment options mean that any surges in demand will quickly go through your stock. You must either ensure that your supply chain can accommodate any surges in demand or you already have a good idea of how often you’ll need to restock your WFS products.

Inventory stocking is particularly crucial to keeping track of seasonal demands. In 2022, Walmart overtook Amazon among shoppers looking for Black Friday discounts, showing a massive market out there that may be looking at your WFS goods. Ensuring that they’re always stocked will help you increase the volume of your sales and maintain your product eligibility under the WFS program.

Check which of your products can be converted to WFS

Walmart offers the Item Conversion Report feature, which can identify which of your seller-fulfilled products are most likely to be successful if you enroll in the WFS program. This option is unlocked once you’ve managed to enroll at least one of your Marketplace products under WFS, and all reports and data about it can be found in your Seller Center.

The Item Conversion Report displays a personalized recommendation of your goods based on their expected sales, drawing data from the current purchasing trends that Walmart tracks on all online purchases made from them. Acting quickly on these recommendations (as they refresh twice a month) can be the missing factor that can lead to the sales volumes you’re looking for.

Improve your content listings

All item listings under WFS have a quality score ranging from 0 to 100, with higher numbers meaning better content on your listings. Improving your content listings can bump up your product higher in Walmart’s search rankings, increasing exposure and potentially generating more sales.

Walmart can also help you identify the exact products in your Seller Center that can use improvements in their content quality, along with giving you recommendations on how to bring up your content quality score. Ideally, you should be aiming at anywhere from 80% to 90% to influence your sales. Not only does this help Walmart sort and display your products online, but it improves your customer’s shopping experience with your goods.

Always check your Sales page

Walmart’s Seller Center has a dedicated Sales page that shows a graphical overview of how your products are selling over time. You’ll be able to see your Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) and Units Sold, which can allow you to compare and contrast your current performance to previous weeks or periods in the previous year.

By monitoring your Sales page, you’ll be able to capitalize on demand as it unfolds in real time. This lets you quickly respond to fast-selling WFS products and restock them to meet the demand or pull underperforming products to refocus your resources and time spent. Aside from just showing numbers, your Sales page can help you understand why your sales are performing the way they are.

What Products Cannot Be Sold Via WFS?

Walmart has strict regulations in place for the type of products that you’re allowed to sell via WFS. The Prohibited Products Policy outlines some examples of products that cannot be sold or fulfilled via WFS:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Ammunition
  • Bleach
  • Butane gas
  • Certain medicines
  • Charcoal
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Household paints
  • Motor oil
  • Paint thinner
  • Tires and any other fully regulated hazardous items as defined by the Department of Transportation

Keep in mind that the above is not an exhaustive list, and Walmart can include and remove products from its Prohibited Products at any time. To minimize any potential conflict or issues with Walmart’s product policy, ensure that any product you’re planning to enroll in WFS passes any applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations in the US.

Violating these guidelines will not only cause the removal of the specific product listing on Marketplace, but it can also negatively affect your status as a Marketplace Seller. Your account may be suspended or terminated—an all-too-easy consequence if you’re not careful, as Walmart can and does change the products they allow without prior notice.

An exception to this rule is specific products that you may appeal via the Support center, which is also where you should direct all inquiries if your products can be fulfilled via WFS. If your petition is allowed, you’ll be assigned to work with your Account Manager and Walmart compliance experts to obtain the necessary permissions to list and sell those specific goods.

What Products Cannot Be Sold Via WFS

Using WFS If You’re Selling Internationally

Some goods are far more advantageous to import into the US, either because they aren’t available within the United States or they’re being introduced as a way to diversify sales. With more than 40% of Americans preferring to shop online, some sellers may be in a situation where they have to import their WFS products from abroad.

Fortunately, WFS accepts imported goods if they meet the following conditions:

  • The product clears US Customs
  • The product already meets WFS requirements
  • The product must be properly prepared and packed under the WFS Routing Guide
  • Seller must have a US address for returns

It’s important to note that while you can schedule your deliveries from the port or airport straight to a WFS facility, Walmart will not be responsible for all the processes required to import goods. This means that sellers are still responsible for:

  • Clearing their products through US Customs
  • Arranging a partnership with a freight forwarding company for US shipments
  • Any import taxes or duties

Otherwise, all other guidelines in the WFS Routing Guide above are still applicable to international sellers, like packaging and labeling regulations. If you need additional support or have more questions about how international goods can qualify or work within WFS guidelines, you may contact Walmart’s Support team.

Is WFS the Best Option For You?

Walmart Fulfillment Services can have a lot to contribute towards the success of growing your online business. However, it’s important to note that every business is different, and in some situations opting for WFS may hurt your growth in the long term.

The best-case scenario for enrolling your products under the WFS program is if you’re selling products that are easy to ship and handle directly to Walmart shoppers. While your overall core customer base isn’t as large as Amazon’s, focusing all your efforts on delivering the best customer service possible can still give you considerable profit.

But if you’re shipping large products that can be sold on multiple sales channels, WFS may not be the best option. If you’re already shipping these types of goods, it’s far better to opt for a third-party fulfillment provider outside of Walmart or to handle storage and fulfillment on your own.

Additionally, don’t feel pressured to opt for the WFS program simply to fulfill orders faster. Products not under WFS can still apply for Walmart’s expedited shipping options, and customers can still find and buy from your listings even without them being sponsored by Walmart’s search algorithm.

If you’re unsure about the merits of WFS and would like to try it out yourself, a good place to start is to take your best-selling product that qualifies for WFS and try it out for a few months. Thanks to Walmart’s WFS analytics, you’ll be able to get a comprehensive overview of how well WFS works for you and decide if you want to increase or withdraw your investment into the program from there.

Better Service with Walmart Fulfillment Services

While its regulations for joining the program and the products allowed are far stricter than those of Amazon, Walmart Fulfillment Services is still a great option for any Walmart Marketplace seller looking for help with fulfillment.

Another great thing about Walmart Fulfilment services is that once you manage to qualify for it, you remove a part of running an online business that usually gives the biggest headache to sellers and their customers. This leaves you with more time to focus on the best practices of being a Walmart seller, which can be useful for veteran and new sellers alike.

Overall, the potential benefits of enrolling your products under the WFS program would outweigh the drawbacks, especially if you can monitor your Sales performance and adjust your sales strategy accordingly. Your customers are far more likely to trust your brand if it’s endorsed by Walmart, and you’ll have more resources and time to spend on other parts of running an online business that needs your attention.

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.