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Walmart seeks rise in online selling

by Serenah McKay | February 26, 2021 at 2:56 a.m.

Walmart Inc. has made a couple of moves this week to grow its online marketplace business, which company executives said recently is one of their goals for the year.

The Bentonville-based retailer's new partnership with e-commerce firm BigCommerce will let more merchants sell their wares on Walmart.com, BigCommerce said in a news release Thursday.

In addition, Walmart said in a news release Wednesday that it has started a program aimed at drawing new sellers to Walmart Marketplace. The limited-time offer called New-Seller Savings gives a 30-day waiver on sales commissions to merchants who join the platform by March 31 and go live by May 1.

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

"Walmart Marketplace is an increasingly fast, easy way for sellers to get their products online, grow their businesses and reach even more customers," Clemenz said. "Sellers who join will also enjoy access to the added benefits of 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 let that company's sellers put their merchandise on a site that gets 120 million visits each month. It also lets Walmart offer a larger 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 for managing the two stores smoothly."

BigCommerce said the app will aid merchants with "their listing, 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 investor community on Feb. 18, Walmart's chief financial officer, Brett Biggs, said the retailer is "one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, approaching $100 billion in revenue in the next couple of years, and we believe $200 billion a few years after that."

Doug McMillon, Walmart's chief executive officer, said at the meeting that "building an expanded marketplace for sellers" was one way the company plans to help small businesses during the current financial crisis.

Growing the marketplace business also helps Walmart diversify its profit base, McMillon said.

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