In the world of e-commerce, two giants stand head and shoulders above the rest: Amazon and Walmart. These retail behemoths have revolutionized the way we shop and have become synonymous with online retail. For sellers looking to tap into the vast consumer market, the choice between Amazon and Walmart is a critical one. Each platform offers unique advantages and challenges, and in this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into the decision-making process to help you determine whether you should sell on Amazon, Walmart, or perhaps both.
The rise of e-commerce has forever changed the retail landscape. With the convenience of online shopping, consumers have flocked to digital marketplaces in search of products that meet their needs. Two of the most prominent online marketplaces, Amazon and Walmart, have garnered immense popularity, shaping the e-commerce industry in their own unique ways.
In this blog post, we will dissect the fundamental differences between Amazon and Walmart as e-commerce platforms for sellers. We’ll explore their histories, target audiences, fee structures, seller policies, and various other factors that should be considered when deciding where to set up shop.
A Brief History
Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore, and it quickly evolved into a global online retail giant. Amazon is known for its customer-centric approach, fast shipping with Amazon Prime, and its ever-expanding catalog of products. It offers third-party sellers the opportunity to reach millions of customers through the Amazon Marketplace.
Walmart, on the other hand, is a traditional retail giant that made its mark in the brick-and-mortar world. It entered the e-commerce arena later than Amazon, but it has made significant strides in the digital space. Walmart’s extensive network of physical stores and its reputation for everyday low prices are key components of its e-commerce strategy.
Understanding the demographics and preferences of the target audience for each platform is crucial when deciding where to sell your products.
Amazon has a broad and diverse customer base, which spans across different demographics, age groups, and income levels. Amazon is known for convenience, and its audience values quick shipping, easy returns, and a vast selection of products. Prime members, in particular, are loyal customers who pay an annual fee for premium benefits, including free and fast shipping.
Walmart’s audience traditionally includes budget-conscious shoppers who prioritize low prices and trust in the Walmart brand. With a strong presence in rural and suburban areas, Walmart appeals to a more price-sensitive demographic. It has also been successful in attracting a mix of online and in-store shoppers.
Both Amazon and Walmart have fee structures that sellers must consider when making their decision.
Amazon’s Fee Structure
Amazon charges sellers various fees, including referral fees, fulfillment fees, subscription fees for professional sellers, and storage fees for inventory stored in their warehouses. These fees can vary depending on the category of the product and the fulfillment method chosen.
Walmart’s Fee Structure
Walmart offers a subscription-based model, with sellers choosing between a Standard or Premium plan. Unlike Amazon, Walmart does not charge referral fees for most product categories. Instead, sellers pay a referral fee on the final item price, and they may also be subject to category-specific fees.
Amazon and Walmart have distinct seller policies that affect your operations as a seller.
Amazon’s Seller Policies
Amazon places a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction and enforces strict performance metrics for sellers. This includes metrics like order defect rate, late shipment rate, and pre-fulfillment cancel rate. Violating these metrics can result in warnings or account suspension. Sellers must also adhere to Amazon’s policies regarding product authenticity, condition, and customer communication.
Walmart’s Seller Policies
Walmart has its own set of policies and guidelines for sellers, including performance standards, product listing requirements, and customer service standards. Walmart also values customer satisfaction and expects sellers to meet their standards consistently.
When it comes to fulfilling orders, both platforms offer different solutions.
Amazon’s Fulfillment Options
Amazon provides two primary fulfillment methods: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). FBA allows Amazon to handle storage, packing, and shipping for sellers, while FBM requires sellers to handle these aspects themselves.
Walmart’s Fulfillment Options
Walmart offers Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), which is similar to Amazon’s FBA. It allows sellers to store their inventory in Walmart’s warehouses, and Walmart handles order fulfillment, shipping, and customer service.
Marketing and Promotion
The ability to market and promote products effectively is vital for success on both platforms.
Amazon’s Marketing Tools
Amazon provides a range of marketing tools, including Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Amazon Stores, to help sellers increase product visibility and drive sales. These advertising options can be powerful for increasing product discoverability.
Walmart’s Marketing Tools
Walmart offers Walmart Sponsored Products and Walmart Sponsored Brands, similar to Amazon’s advertising options. These tools allow sellers to promote their products within the Walmart marketplace and improve their product visibility.
Integration and Multi-Channel Selling
If you want to diversify your sales channels, you need to consider how well each platform integrates with other e-commerce channels.
Amazon offers various integrations with e-commerce tools and platforms, making it relatively straightforward to expand your sales to other channels, such as your own website or social media platforms.
Walmart has also expanded its integration options, allowing sellers to connect their Walmart store with various e-commerce solutions. While Walmart may not have as many integration options as Amazon, it is actively working to expand its reach in this regard.