How to Win the Walmart Buy Box

When you think of online marketplaces, the first name that probably pops into your head is Amazon.

It’s true that Amazon is the biggest online marketplace, but you should be willing to look beyond the eCommerce giant if you want to maximize your online sales. Walmart, a brick-and-mortar retail stalwart, has its own massive marketplace. Best of all, it’s not quite as competitive as Amazon, which means sellers have a strong chance to tap into Walmart’s customer base.

To help brands understand one of the most crucial ingredients for success on Walmart.com—the Buy Box—we’ve put together this quick guide on how the Buy Box works and how you can win it.

What is the Walmart Buy Box?

The Walmart Buy Box is on every product page on the Walmart Marketplace. It’s not immediately obvious, because it’s such an integral part of the shopping experience. It’s essentially just the blue button that says “Add to Cart.”

Once you click “Add to Cart,” the item will be added to your cart. But you didn’t choose which seller you wanted to buy the item from. Walmart did it for you. It used an algorithm that weighed dozens, if not hundreds, of factors to determine the best seller of that item.

On the Walmart Marketplace, if multiple sellers are selling the same product, the seller listings will be collected on one single page. This page will show all of the sellers and their prices. All sellers of a product will have visibility on that page, but only one can earn the Walmart Buy Box. As we’ll see in the next section, this is vital for success in this marketplace.

The idea behind the Walmart Buy Box is exactly the same as that of the Amazon Buy Box. It effectively works out of sight to provide customers with a low-hassle experience. Instead of forcing you to compare sellers, Walmart narrows it down to the best one so you can click “Add to Cart” confident that you got the everyday low price you expect from Walmart.

Roku Ultra LT Streaming Media Player 2019 Walmart.com listing

Benefits of Winning the Walmart Buy Box

What does it mean for brands to “win” the Buy Box?

It means that the winner becomes the default seller of a product when a shopper clicks the “Add to Cart” button. Once the customer has decided on a purchase, the most likely action they will take is to add it to the cart. It’s rare that customers go another click deeper to the list of sellers to compare their prices. Customers don’t particularly care which seller the product comes from, they simply trust that the Buy Box is giving them the best option.

The rest of the sellers don’t stand much of a chance. It’s not a stretch to say that if you don’t win the Buy Box, you almost always lose the sale. Naturally, this makes competition for the Buy Box steep. Only one brand can win, and with the cost of losing so great, brands do everything they can to get an edge.

The benefit of winning the Buy Box is pretty straightforward. It’s that you can maximize your sales through Walmart Marketplace. The frictionless experience means that customers can buy from you easily, and with how many people shop on Walmart.com, you’re effectively piggybacking on that seamless experience and reaching a massive audience.

How to Maximize Your Chances of Winning the Walmart Buy Box

Like most search engines, Walmart doesn’t explicitly state its “ranking factors” in its entirety. Outside of Walmart, no one knows for sure what all of the factors are or how each one is weighed in the algorithm that determines the Buy Box winner. You can do everything right and still miss out, and vice versa.

It’s also important to note that the Walmart marketplace is a completely separate entity from Amazon. Just because you win the Amazon Buy Box, it doesn’t mean you’re a lock to win Walmart’s. Each marketplace has its own requirements and algorithms to determine which seller gets the Buy Box.

That said, here are some of the most important things you can do to put yourself in the best possible position to win the Walmart Buy Box.

Winners of the Walmart Buy Box become the default seller of a product when a shopper clicks the ‘Add to Cart’ button.

Have One of The Lowest Prices

Walmart is an everyday low price retailer. Its customers expect to get those low prices on everything they buy, and Walmart is intent on delivering on its promise to them.

In many cases, the winner of the Buy Box is the brand offering the lowest price on the item. Price is one of two major factors in Buy Box placement.

In a dynamic pricing environment, your competitors’ pricing will change all the time. You need to constantly monitor the landscape to see what other sellers are charging for the same or similar items and be prepared to match or beat it.

The best way to do this at scale is with price intelligence software that continually monitors the competitive landscape and lets you change your prices quickly to adapt to the prices in your market.

Of course, there’s a reason why you need to have one of the lowest prices, and not necessarily the lowest. There are several other factors Walmart considers in Buy Box placement.

Keep Your Stock Updated and Available

Strong inventory management is the other of the most important ranking factors when it comes to Buy Box eligibility. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what your prices are if customers see “Out of Stock” when they visit your product pages.

The Buy Box is all about a seamless, convenient shopping experience. If you aren’t continually updating your stock and ensuring you’re able to cover the sales volume, you will lose any chance you have at the Buy Box. This is especially important during surge times, like holidays.

Maintain your stock availability and constantly monitor your listings to ensure you’re not repelling customers with an out of stock notice.

Man shopping online with a credit card in his hand

Offer Free or Low-Priced Shipping

Free or low-priced shipping is a must-have for winning the Walmart Buy Box. When Walmart says “everyday low pricing,” that means the landed price has to be low, not just the retail price of the item being sold. The landed price refers to the cost of the item plus shipping.

Make sure your shipping fees are as low as possible to avoid increasing the landed price of your products. You don’t want to win on list price only to have shipping charges knock you off course.

Maintain Strong Account Metrics

Your overall seller performance metrics can have an impact on Walmart Buy Box reliability. Walmart itself calls out three seller metrics that are requirements for being a seller in good standing. These are:

  • 90-Day Order Defect Rate <2 percent
  • On-Time Shipment Rate >99 percent
  • Valid Tracking Rate >99 percent

These metrics show that you are a trustworthy seller that helps the Walmart brand. You have to constantly monitor your seller scorecard to be sure that your metrics fall into these ranges. If they don’t, you’ll have to act fast to get back in Walmart’s good graces. Sellers who don’t hit these high marks are unlikely to get Buy Box placement.

Get Good Reviews

Good reviews aren’t necessarily a direct ranking factor on Walmart’s marketplace, but they are a key signal to buyers that you are a trustworthy, high-quality brand. Having a high number of good reviews is a great way to increase sales without relying solely on discounts or rock-bottom prices.

Craft Strong Product Listings

This is where the “SEO” side of managing your Walmart seller account comes into play. Walmart uses your listing as a measure of vendor quality, and there are some key ways to ensure your listings stand out.

  • Use the appropriate keywords in your titles and descriptions so searchers can easily find you.
  • Upload high-quality images.
  • Write readable, useful product descriptions that answer key customer questions and offer product specs and information.

Earning the Walmart Buy Box across as much of your product portfolio as possible can be a major source of sales and revenue. Don’t leave it to chance. You have to constantly monitor your prices to be sure they’re the lowest they can be, manage your inventory well, and maintain strong seller metrics if you want the windfall that comes with Buy Box placement.

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Sr. Manager, Marketing & Demand at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions.

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