Amazon has been the eCommerce giant for the past 20 year, and any brands serious about an online presence have to at least consider an Amazon presence. The same is true for third party online sellers. Whether you have your own brand or are selling products produced by someone else, Amazon is close to a requirement.
However, Amazon isn’t the only choice these days. Since setting up in the eCommerce arena in 2016, Walmart.com has seen tremendous growth - both in number of customers and number of sellers.
If you have experience selling on Amazon and are thinking about dipping into Walmart, there is no better time than now to do it. Many potential sellers were deterred by hearing how immature Walmart’s platform was and about the difficulties of breaking in a slightly different system.
How is Walmart Different?
The lack of third party tools to support Walmart sellers has also been an issue. However, now that tools like Sellegr8 have been created, the same seller information that you’ve long relied on for Amazon selling is available for Walmart vendors.
If you are thinking about applying for a seller account on Walmart, be aware that there are some differences in the way the two platforms operate. It’s tempting to think that you will be able to move all your high-performing Amazon listings straight over to Walmart and get similar - or better - results.
Of course, there is more to setting up your new Walmart listings than just copy and paste. Walmart’s algorithm looks for different qualities in a listing, and the listing software requests different information.
Since many experienced sellers are familiar with Amazon's listings, let’s take a look at how Walmart listings are different.
Walmart listing should be unique, short and have no special characters
If you are used to creating keyword stuffed, eye-catching Amazon listings, Walmart titles will come as a breath of fresh air. In the Walmart world, listing titles are required to be short, succinct and unique.
Short means just that - Walmart rewards listings with titles between 50 and 75 words. By rewards, we mean, of course, that these listings have a much better chance of ranking at the top for the product category or keyword search. Not meeting these guidelines can result in punishment - not just lower rankings, but possibly suppression of your product altogether.
Since the title needs to be short, concise is a given. Walmart expects customers to actually read the title and use it to make an informed buying decision, so they are very picky when precise product information is shown. Make sure you are including the important keywords. But, since it needs to be readable, you will only be including the broader keywords.
It’s important that you do your Walmart keyword research before beginning a listing. You need to know which keywords buyers are searching for using a specific Walmart keywords tool.
Of course, you will want to track your keyword performance using a tool like Sellegr8, but since it’s difficult to change a listing title once it has been approved, check out the keywords before you craft your listing.
Very important to make your listing title unique. Walmart does not want a title copied from Amazon, Shopify, Etsy or any other searchable online shop. Pay attention to this requirement! Your listing will be punished for copying.
Here’s one of the most difficult for new Walmart sellers to remember: No Punctuation! Really. No dashes, no exclamation points, no emojis - not even a period. The occasional comma might be tolerated, but nothing else. Also, avoid special symbols, like 1/2, TM, hearts, *, #. Anything that is not a standard keyboard letter is a no-no.
This requirement seems to be in conflict with the idea that your listing title needs to be readable, but those are the rules.
Walmart’s Formula, and Don’t forget the UPC
Both Amazon and Walmart have a recommended listing title structure, but Walmart takes it much more seriously than Amazon. As we said above, Walmart will punish listings that stray too far outside their guidelines. Since Walmart is much less crowded than Amazon for sellers, you want to do everything possible to reach the top of this smaller pile of listings.
Here’s a side note - when you sit down to list your products on Walmart - don’t forget the UPC. Not a problem if your item has been purchased wholesale and already has one of these Universal Product Codes, but if your item is a multi-pack (which is a great idea to list!) Or a private label item, you will need to apply for UPC codes unique to that item.
As a general rule, you need a unique UPC for each product variant - color, size, pattern, and pack quantity requires a different UPC. Be careful buying these from less official sources. You may find that the UPC you purchased has already been assigned and is useless to you.
The Walmart listing formula is this:
Brand + Clothing Size Group (if applicable) + Defining Quality + Item Name + Style (if applicable) + Pack Count
If color is something customers are likely to search for, include it in your listing title. However, if your listing contains color variants, don’t include a specific color in your title.
While Amazon listings give more room to capture lots of keyword variation, Walmart’s titles are much more user-friendly for consumers.
Prices are Important
Amazon sellers are, of course, focused on price. The race to capture the Buy Box for any individual product is fierce, and price plays a huge part in that .
With Walmart, though, low prices are a governing principle. If your price is considered by Walmart to be ‘uncompetitive’, your product will be delisted. Even if you adjust your price quickly, your product may be out of commission for 24-48 hours.
To avoid getting into Walmart's pricing jail, make sure your price competitively and you pay attention to when prices get cut on other stores. Walmart checks your prices (including shipping) against other products on its own site as well as other websites. If that product can be bought cheaper on Amazon, Walmart would rather not list it at all.
Walmart also gives sellers access to several different promotional banners/badges when you reduce your price by at least 5% or put items on clearance.
Use Item Spec 4.0
Walmart guides you very specifically as to what information your listing should contain. If you are listing a single product, the manual set-up tool will guide you through each requirement. Unless you are very familiar with online product creation, you may need to dig into Walmart’s Knowledge Base to figure out what each attribute category is asking for.
Make sure you list your product in the right category! Incorrect category mapping is another of the main reasons products get delisted on Walmart. It may seem easiest to just skip all the category jargon and just list your item as ‘Other’, but don’t. Your product probably won’t have the right attributes to make it discoverable. Customers just won’t be shown your product.
One option Walmart took away with the introduction of Item Spec 4.0 is the time-honored practice of Walmart backend keywords. These invisible but searchable lists of every possible keyword variant were convenient, but not as necessary as you might think. Use a good Walmart keywords tool to find the highest ranking long tail keywords for your products and your items will be highly discoverable.
Walmart Keyword Research
To make sure you are using SEO friendly keywords everywhere in your listings, you need access to a good Walmart keywords tool.
It’s important to remember that a huge percentage of Walmart’s customers come from web search tools such as Google, rather than just an internal search on Walmart. Keep that in mind when researching keywords.
Once you’ve done your research, you are likely to have a list of long tail and short tail keywords. If you start with a really good list, you can use both types of keywords strategically throughout your listing.
Short tail keywords are important to allow both shoppers and search engines to find your product category. Since these are very broad search terms, you are unlikely to rank high.
So once you’ve found your short tails, spend more time focusing on the long tail keywords. These are much easier to rank for, since they are more specific. Customers searching for these items know much more exactly what they want.
Use variations of long tail keywords in your listings, while also keeping them highly readable. Make sure each sentence or bullet point of your listing has one long tail keyword. If your headline contains ‘Short sleeve sweater’, make sure the next line changes it up to ‘Sweater with short sleeves’ or ‘Sweaters for summer’.
Once you’ve created your listing, you will need to make sure you’ve done it right! Use Sellegr8 to track your keyword performance and well as your competitions’ for both organic and paid keywords.
The most important information to take away from this article are:
Walmart’s listing must be unique - not copied from Amazon or other eCommerce platforms
The listing title needs to be free from punctuation, emojis, or special characters
Walmart requires a unique UPC for each listing
Walmart will suppress listings that don’t meet it’s low price guidelines
Avoid keyword stuffing and make sure your long tail keywords flow in a readable listing
Walmart is not Amazon - the platform has a different set of priorities and started from a different customer base. That isn’t to say experienced sellers will have trouble with Walmart listings. Just the opposite! By following Walmart’s listing guidelines, doing thorough Walmart keyword research and using a powerful Walmart keywords tool like Sellegr8.com, you will be dominating your niche in record time.
About The Author
Alon Saggie is an entrepreneur, Sellegr8's co-founder and a veteran eCommerce seller, who helps other sellers crush it on Walmart.com.