The Walmart WFS Step-By-Step Guide for 2023

The latest trend in e-commerce is selling with Walmart WFS – Walmart Fulfillment Service. Walmart gives you an unfair advantage in winning the buy-box when you have WFS on your side.

There is a massive wholesale opportunity right now to search for big brands that don’t have WFS offers and sell them on Walmart WFS.

I’m going to show you a step-by-step guide on how to find the biggest opportunities, how to source them, and how to grow a consistently profitable business at Walmart.

Let’s get started.

screenshot of the walmart wfs marketplace landing page

What’s special about Walmart?

Walmart is a giant e-commerce marketplace. When accounting for its 100 million unique monthly visitors it’s arguably growing to be the #1 e-commerce platform for serious wholesalers.

This presents a massive selling opportunity for smart merchants. The huge influx of traffic often translates to sales.

Walmart doesn’t convert as high as Amazon yet, but that’s changing every day. Their sales are up 90% over the last two years (2020-2022).

Walmart is investing big money into the e-commerce space; $14 billion in 2021. Much of that investment has been in services that we’ll be exploring further like the Walmart Fulfillment Service (WFS).

screenshot of forbes news on walmart billion dollar investment long term outlook

With Walmart WFS you can use services that are the Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) equivalent. Sellers are quickly recognizing the opportunity.

When we started Data Spark, Walmart had 37,000 sellers (February 2019). In February 2022 there were 135,000 sellers at Walmart. In 2023, Walmart has well over 150,000 sellers and with 410 million unique visitors, I’m surprised it’s not more.

There are thousands of new sellers joining Walmart Marketplace every week recognizing the size of the opportunity.

How is Walmart creating this opportunity?

In several ways, but the one we will be focusing on is Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) – Walmart’s answer to Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon service (FBA). Walmart WFS is a game changer, similar to what FBA was ten years ago.

As of January 2023, only 18% of third-party (3P) units shipped are WFS. This provides an opportunity for sellers that already understand Amazon FBA.

If you already understand the power of using Amazon FBA to sell, then you should know that by jumping on this massive opportunity you can take the +80% of products that aren’t listed as WFS, offer them as Walmart WFS, and win the buy-box.

The buy-box grants you the sale when a customer clicks the buy button on the Walmart marketplace.

There are several reasons why you should be interested in Walmart WFS.

1. A proven business model

About 73% of all units shipped on Amazon are through 3P FBA.

It’s a process that has been established to increase sales, and people have adopted it as a result of its effectiveness.

2. Walmart states that it gives you a buy-box advantage.

That means that your price can be higher than somebody using standard shipping, and you’ll still win the buy box. That’s a huge advantage.

3. You will experience higher conversions

This can lead to a 50% increase in sales according to Jaré Buckley-Cox, vice president of Walmart Fulfillment Services.

Walmart is clearly favoring WFS. They want WFS offers to rank higher in search. Customers prefer faster free shipping because convenience is important to them.

You don’t have to worry about fulfilling the order yourself, cramping your garage with boxes, receiving and sending shipments like you’re a mailman AND you will get a higher conversion.

I’m going to walk you through, step by step, how to use Walmart WFS to find wholesale opportunities to grow your business.

How to Use Walmart WFS to Grow Your Business

Step one is finding opportunity brands. When people are new to wholesale they’ll often start by trying to find a supplier to source wholesale catalogs from. That’s suitable for a beginner needing to establish relationships.

As you get more advanced, you want to start with the opportunity and then find a source for it.

Let’s break down this process further.

Step 1 – Go Category Wide and Brand Deep

Step one is to find the top opportunities. I like to use DataSpark’s WFS opportunity finder to make the process easier.

screenshot of dataspark Walmart WFS opportunity finder

Let me explain how it works:

In this case, we’re examining the toys category, and we’ve gone through and scanned for all the brands where they have Items that don’t have a WFS offer.

This is important because the first person to create a WFS offer on any given product is likely going to win all of the sales from the visitors searching for that product. Let’s take a brand like Pokemon as an example. It is a Walmart WFS opportunity.

We filtered for items that don’t have Walmart selling them directly, don’t have two-day shipping, and don’t have a WFS offer. These are all standard shipping or worse offers.

The WFS opportunity finder looks at the sales on those items currently, adds them up, and then adds in 50% that Walmart says that you see as an increase in sales because of the new WFS conversion rate.

When we sum those potential sales up by brand (Pokemon) to get the WFS Opportunity amount. We estimate in this case there’s about $574,352 worth of monthly Walmart WFS opportunities within the products offered by the brand (Pokemon).

screenshot of WFS opportunity finder on toys with pokemon and panini brands

There are about 435 items in the Toys category on Pokemon, and the Average Selling Price (ASP) is $79.32. There is some Walmart on Pokemon today, 5.4%.

19.1% of units shipped on Pokemon are through WFS.

There is a total of $574,000 of opportunity.

We’ve also selected how many sellers we’d like to see on a product, in this case, a range of three to five.

The opportunity finder tool caps the sellers at ten and doesn’t show brands with high competition. We only want the low competition and high opportunity brands, and then you can check whether the product is ‘mostly 3P’ or ‘3P only’ (3rd Party Relationship).

If you didn’t want to compete against Walmart at all. You can sell low competition (2 or 3 sellers) and ‘3P only’ brands. There are 272 of them in Toys that we can go after. And these all have at least $12,000 a year of opportunity on them, $1,000 a month in Walmart WFS sales opportunity.

This list of brands has between $20,000 to $40,000 worth of Walmart WFS opportunities a month. Now, you can see some of these have very little WFS offering. Some of them have no one offering it. You could be the first one to capture the entire WFS opportunity on any 0% WFS offered product.

Once again, step one is to find these opportunity brands. From here you have your list of opportunity brands and then you do some further research to see if this is a good fit for your business or not.

Step 2 – Evaluating Brand Viability

screenshot of the WFS product evaluation tool with samples of toy products shown on the list

If you click on the item list for a brand you will expand into the full product catalog of that brand. There are a few things I look for.

  1. Sort by overall revenue. Some people prefer to find a few really big items, so you manage fewer items in your catalog, and that’s a perfectly viable approach. I see when their sales are spread across a lot of items because I think that gives the biggest opportunity in the long run as they grow and perform at Walmart. You can look at the product list and see what the sales look like and how that is distributed. Observant merchants might ask themselves whether sales are spread across many items, or are there just a few lead items that sell well with X-brand.
  2. Observe the current rank in comparison to the 30-day average to see if the brand is trending up or if it is trending down. It is trending up if the rank is higher than the 30-day average. It is trending down if its current rank is lower than the 30-day average.

Many products that are increasing in rank are an overall good sign that we look for.

We then look at brand reviews across their product offerings. Now, this is important as I want to see if customers like this brand. I want to see that it has strong reviews across its product lines and that it has a solid foundation for going forward.

I also want to look and make certain that I’m seeing new reviews in the last 30 days. This is an example of a brand that isn’t seeing a lot of new reviews.

Please note many reviews are a good sign of traction and movement.

It’s also important to look at the WFS and two-day shipping. We look for brands that don’t have a lot of Walmart WFS offers or two-day shipping offers. Those are the key boxes you want to look at as it contributes to Walmart’s algorithm in choosing whom to give the buy-box to.

screenshot of WFS shipping and packaging page

Step 3 – Check with Your Suppliers

By this point, you should have a list of brands you find attractive.

Now we move to step 3. Once you have your list of brands that you want to source, the next step is to check with your existing suppliers. You always want to do this before you find unique suppliers because this business is all about relationships and you want to become an important partner for suppliers.

If you’re working with suppliers that you like, give them the first right of refusal. They’ll appreciate you coming to them and often will help you source brands that will make both of your businesses bigger together.

See below for an email template that has worked for us in our outreach messages.

Hey {name},

I hope all is well with you. {Add something they remember you by}. I appreciate your help in getting me access to the {brand name} brand. It is doing amazing in sales! I have been doing a lot of research on {new brand of interest} and there are a lot of untapped potential sales here. Do you think you can help me gain access to them?

[Brand List, Potential Sales]


Step 4 – Source a New Supplier

If your existing supplier can’t get the interested brand, the next step is to contact the brand online.

A simple way to do this is head to the brand supplier’s website. Almost every website makes it pretty easy to try to contact them.

There are two places to really look. One’s at the bottom. Every now and again you’ll get lucky and they’ll have their list of distributors or wholesalers that they use. And you can get the list from there as well.

If not, check the top contact us button. The brand usually has an intake process for new wholesalers. They want people to be wholesaling their products. And so you can come in here, put in your information, and you’re off to the races. This process works well.

Otherwise, you can use to scrape their emails from the supplier’s website directly.

screenshot of the software also has a LinkedIn scraper. You will want to search the supplier page on Linkedin, find the relevant decision-makers, scrape their pages, and send them emails using some of the provided templates.

You should get most people to respond to you if you use the listed templates. Using a simple blurb helps to set you apart from other wholesalers.

You can also ask if they’re open to a direct selling relationship. It doesn’t hurt to ask them if they would be willing to go direct. That is how you’re going to get the best cost and build a great relationship with them.

Once you have that list of distributors or wholesalers from the brand, you want to reach out to each of those distributors and ask them for a catalog. There is an important distinction here.

When you do this, you want to ask them if they can send you a list of all the items they carry. Because while you discovered this wholesaler or distributor from this brand, they’re going to carry many other brands, and those brands may carry even more opportunity.

This is an important step in order to capture the total potential profit from the supplier’s carried inventory.

Step 5 – Analyze the Brand Catalog

In this step, you will analyze the full wholesale catalog. Taking the data and displaying it in a meaningful way is a thankless process.

We’ve made that easy for you with DataSpark’s Wholesale Analyzer.

screenshot of dataspark wholesale analysis tool

Know Your Numbers

This tool allows you to take the catalog and analyze it for opportunities. You’re going to take the distributor’s catalog that they sent you and you’re going to pop in all the UPC codes with the respective costs they gave you.

This will pull all the Walmart data that you need, such as the sales volume, price, reviews, rank, and the analyzer tool will calculate the fees for you.

After this process is complete you will know how much money you can reasonably earn on the given product list.

There are a few parameters that you can choose from when doing Walmart WFS like which prices you want to sell for, how often you’re going to win the buy box and the net profit per unit, your profit margins, your estimated total sales, and your estimated net profit.

You will be able to differentiate the winners (profitable products) from the losers (unprofitable products). That’ll lead us to the next step.

Negotiate Your Way to Profitability

You will list the gems and then negotiate on the duds. This is a step that many people miss in wholesale. It’s okay to go back to the distributors/wholesalers and ask them for a better cost.

You have to understand that they all have price tiers that they’re giving you. When you first ask them, they’re not going to give you the best price because they don’t trust you yet.

We have this email blurb where you can ask them for better pricing. Here’s the important wording that you want to do. “What does it take to be on a better cost tier?”

You don’t want to get into one-by-one costing. You’re looking for across-the-board tiered pricing.

You may get down to the nitty-gritty and only get cost concessions on one product. The better approach is to get an overall better cost tier so that even the diamonds you found from this process will become even richer diamonds in the future because you are at a better cost with the distributor or wholesaler.

They might say no, but you need to ask them:

  • What are the criteria?
  • Do I need to be at a higher sales volume?
  • Is it after X-time doing business with you?
  • What is the path to get on their best-in-class cost?

Sometimes the distributor will simply give you a better price on the products. Other times a better cost might mean something more creative like allowances, and funds lines of credit. During this part of the process, you will want to keep asking questions and tease out what it takes to have the best cost.

Step 6 – The Most Important Step

You want to build relationships with wholesalers. This is a relationship-driven business and you want to be great at it. Now some of this is going to seem obvious, but we’re going to go over it.

1. The first thing is to be pleasantly persistent. If they ignore you, that’s okay. Every few days, every two to three days, follow up with them. They value persistence because that’s how they know you’re serious and worth their time.

2. The second thing is to always keep your commitments. If you tell them you’re going to do something for them, make sure you always do it.

3. Third, we don’t want this to be just a transactional relationship. You need to understand their goals.

Some of the questions to keep in mind when speaking with distributors are:

  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • Are they looking to grow?
  • Are they trying to get new brands into their business?
  • Are they struggling with profitability?

Remember to always push for a meeting. This relationship is important.

In the long term, it will pay off. It’s beneficial to take meetings with them and find a way to give back.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We talked about communicating with them about the brands that you’re looking for.

If you’re having problems in your business, they likely have some advice for you. You’ll often find yourself getting some assistance when needed. Make this more of a partnership than just a transactional relationship.

5. Eventually, you will want to move up the value chain. If you have brands that are selling well, you can contact them to go direct and build relationships with those brands. If this sounds intimidating or some of this doesn’t make sense, we have a white glove service that we offer and you can email me at where I or somebody on our team will be dedicated to helping you on your WFS journey.

I hope you enjoyed our step-by-step guide on effectively selling on Walmart WFS in 2023.

Guest Author Bio

Dataspark is an approved Walmart Marketplace solution provider with comprehensive data including sales estimates, pricing history, buy box winners, category best sellers, and more.

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