Walmart’s Marketplace platform has doubled in size over the last year and a half and now boasts 100,000 active sellers, according to Marketplace Pulse research. Over the last year, up to 20,000 sellers joined Walmart Marketplace every month. On average, Walmart approved about 10% to become active each month.
This is the latest milestone for Walmart, the largest overall retailer in the U.S., in its quest to overtake Amazon. What’s more, Walmart has been modeling itself after its competitor to do so.
Like Amazon, convenience is a key factor in Walmart’s offerings. The company’s membership program, Walmart+, offers free delivery, curbside pickup, fuel discounts and a Paramount+ Essential plan — all for $2 less than an Amazon Prime membership. So far, the pickup services have paid off. Walmart’s online sales grew 27% in the first quarter of 2023.
At its summit conference in August, Walmart said it has been converting several low-performing stores to fulfillment centers for more efficient deliveries, especially for larger and multi-box shipments. The company will continue upgrading its delivery service to ensure customers can experience quick shipping or even same-day delivery.
Marketplace Pulse said Walmart’s unique strength in online retail comes from retail stores that fulfill 50% of online orders, and the Marketplace must integrate into that to unlock the next 100,000 sellers. Currently, Walmart has over 400 million products for sale on its website and the Marketplace makes up about 95% of those offerings.
“With the catalog so broad and a marketplace with so many sellers, future growth will not come from adding more sellers,” Marketplace Pulse reported. “That is, doubling the marketplace universe and [stock-keeping unit] count won’t lead to doubling [gross merchandise value]. Walmart has reached a milestone where counting the catalog and marketplace size has become meaningless.”
Walmart isn’t moving away from its brick-and-mortar stores. In April, the company revealed a $130 million plan to update its stores with a “Store of Tomorrow” concept. These new modernized stores will include new layouts, expanded brand name products, bigger checkout areas and more health services.
Walmart still has a long way to go before it can eclipse Amazon in online shopping, but the increase in active sellers, as well as a 24% increase in online sales reported earlier this month, is promising progress.