Walmart seeks to increase online sales

Walmart Inc. took some steps this week to grow its online marketplace business, which company executives recently said is one of their goals for the year.

The Bentonville-based retailer’s new partnership with e-commerce company BigCommerce will allow more merchants to sell their wares on Walmart.com, BigCommerce said in a press release Thursday.

Additionally, Walmart said in a press release Wednesday that it has launched a program to attract new sellers to Walmart Marketplace. The limited-time offer called New-Seller Savings grants a 30-day waiver on sales commissions to merchants who join the platform before March 31 and go live before May 1.

Jeff Clemenz, senior vice president of Walmart Marketplace, noting that the third-party platform was a driver of Walmart’s e-commerce sales growth of 79% last year, said now seemed like the time ” to invite more sellers to join us”.

“Walmart Marketplace is an increasingly faster and easier way for sellers to get their products online, grow their businesses and reach even more customers,” Clemenz said. “Merchants who join will also receive access to additional benefits from Walmart’s suite of services designed to help them stay competitive,” such as Walmart Fulfillment Services.

Clemenz said Walmart will host a webinar on March 18 to give potential sellers information about applying, onboarding and selling on Walmart Marketplace.

Walmart’s partnership with BigCommerce will allow that company’s sellers to put their wares on a site that receives 120 million visits every month. It also allows Walmart to offer a wider assortment of merchandise online.

BigCommerce sellers can use an app called Walmart Connector for BigCommerce to seamlessly integrate their stores with a Walmart Marketplace account. The app’s developer, CedCommerce, said on its website that the tool “facilitates a common platform to manage both stores smoothly.”

BigCommerce said the app will help merchants with “their SEO, order and inventory management, advertising, and fulfillment needs.”

Walmart formed a similar partnership with Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify in June.

Walmart doesn’t reveal how many third-party vendors sell on its website, though it says millions of items are listed there.

At the company’s annual meeting with the investment community on Feb. 18, Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs said the retailer was “one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, approaching 100 billion in revenue over the next two years, and we estimate $200 billion a few years later.”

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, told the meeting that “creating a larger marketplace for sellers” was one of the ways the company plans to help small businesses during the current financial crisis.

The growth in market activity is also helping Walmart diversify its earnings base, McMillon said.