Expand your business with Walmart Canada

Webinar Transcript

Julie Michael: Hey everyone, I’m Julie Michael from Sellercloud. Thank you all for joining. We hope to gain a lot from this webinar. We’re first gonna introduce Kunal from Walmart. He’s a Senior Manager and he’ll start.

Kunal Gupta: Julie and the team, thank you so much for organizing this. And to all the attendees, thank you for taking the time today to attend this webinar. It’s my pleasure today to introduce Walmart Canada as a marketplace platform. And by the end of a, I hope that some of you at least are going to be interested enough to come on board and start sharing with us.

I’m a Senior Manager for an e-commerce marketplace in Walmart, Canada. I’m leading the Business Development team and it’s my responsibility to talk to potential new sellers who are interested in selling on our platform. The objective of today’s webinar is just to give you a brief introduction about the marketplace, the use of information about the platform, our growth story for the last couple of years, what kind of customers we deal with, and our ways of working. And I’m happy to take any questions. So at the end of the webinar, kindly send any queries, clarification questions that you have on the chat. And at the end of it, we’re gonna respond to all of them.

This is a story right now in terms of a website. So we started off with the marketplace two years ago. But walmart.ca has been in existence for a bit longer than that. In the last eight years we have been running an e-commerce business so our platform has grown significantly. Now we actually have reached the level where we get 27 million monthly visits. That is from 14 million unique visitors, which is a big enough number considering the fact that about 40% of all Canadians are actually visiting our website. An average Canadian lives within eight minutes of any Walmart store, we have 400 stores across the country. And living within eight minutes of a store means that a lot of Canadians are used to visiting Walmart stores, and shopping there and we are looking to convert that exact behavior to online. The role that our stores play in our ecommerce growth is something that I’m going to talk about a bit later.

On our marketplace, we have seen more than 100% sales growth in the last couple of years. As I mentioned, in fact, August of 2019 is our two year anniversary for the marketplace. It’s been a very exciting journey so far. We started off pretty small but in the last two years, we have increased our SKU offering to about 8 million. Our celebrity base has grown by 25x. Sales growth, as I mentioned, is growing at 100%. And that remains the target for the next few years, at least to the extent that the entire leadership of Walmart, not just Walmart Canada, but Walmart Global, is committed to the marketplace as a major platform for future growth. And there is a lot of focus to ensure that we have the right technology, we have the right seller base to make this platform a complete success. One small thing that I wanted to mention. Even though we are growing a lot, even though we have a good number of SKUs live on the platform, the fact remains that 40% of Canadian online demand ends up going to US websites. And that is simply because there is still a lack of options for customers in terms of either depth of offering or pricing or good delivery options. Basically it means that there is a huge untapped demand in the market. There are a lot of customers looking for a lot of things which are just not available. And that is why we believe that the marketplace will play a huge role in the success of e-commerce. And all the sellers like you have a huge opportunity for the Canadian market to develop your business.

So this is a bit about the customers. I understand that Walmart is typically known for being a steward for moms. But since we have launched our e-commerce platform, we have also seen a shift in the kind of customers that are shopping on our website. So if you see this slide, the kind of data metrics that I have are pretty exciting for us. The biggest most exciting metric is the fact that 41% of our customers are actually between the ages of 18 to 34, which is highly exciting for all of us. It’s the young, ecommerce savvy, modern urban and affluent segment, which is shopping with us. But having said that, another 55% of our customers are actually families with a household size of more than three, which means they have kids. The other thing is 54% of our customers are classified as high income. Three fourths of them have higher education. What all of this basically means is that we are serving a very wide variety of customers which means that there is a scope to sell multiple different kinds of categories. Millennials are looking for very different kinds of products, households are looking for very different products, higher education, and higher income folks are looking for different kinds of products. So there is an opportunity to sell a large variety of products, be it in terms of the price range or beat in terms of the product category itself. That is where you sellers play a huge role, we will ensure that we bring the customers while the products that are needed to serve these customers are something that you guys can bring on the platform.

This is a quick slide about what our customers are looking for on the platform. So we have seen the kind of customers that we are getting, but what is it that they’re actually looking for, right? What we have seen is, and this is this is a survey that Walmart did some time back 66% of our customers ask for value, what they mean is they’re looking for good pricing. And that is where everyday low price is one of the core fundamental values of Walmart. We believe that providing good value to the customers through our everyday low price model is something that serves the customers well, and that is what keeps them coming back to us. 59% of them are looking for a good experience. And Customer service is one of the most fundamental principles again in the Walmart world. In fact, customer service is one of the principles that Sam Walton mentioned as the core principle when he founded this company.

49% of our customers are looking for an assortment, they are looking for a one stop shop for all their needs. And that is again, an important thing for all of us. We had Walmart ensure that we provide all kinds of products to our customers. And we are looking to our seller partners to ensure that they are providing pretty much all the needs that our customer could have. 42% of customers are looking for convenience. We at Walmart are looking to develop more and more of our shipping methods and improve our platform so that lives become easier for all the customers. And lastly, 35% of customers look for brands. It’s not just cheap products. And we are looking at our website as a destination for having both high valued brands, but also to have a curated marketplace so that we ensure that we have good brands and high quality products available for the customers.

Customers have shown trust in the Walmart platform over the years because of our customer service, because of our low prices. But the marketplace is a relatively new platform. But what we have seen is that the marketplace is trusted by all the stakeholders, which includes the customers, which includes our technology providers, and which includes all the sellers that we already have on the platform. But why is that? Simply because our marketplace is a curated marketplace. We do select the sellers that we want to bring on board and that is to ensure that we are able to provide authentic products. We are able to provide good service to the customers, which ends up creating a virtuous cycle for everybody. So when we ensure that we are providing authentic products with good service to the customers, customers keep coming back to us. And when we see an increase in customers, that’s what brings more sellers on board and we ensure that the sellers we bring on board are properly vetted, and they are not selling any kind of fake products. That’s a virtuous cycle, which builds up and which ensures that our platform grows and what we’ve seen in the last few years we have been growing by more than 100% in terms of our sales, and we definitely see that happening continuously for the next few years at least.

Just a small reminder, if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to send them over chat and we’re going to answer all of them by the end of this webinar. So yes, we have seen that our platform is trusted by everybody. We have built a curated marketplace. But how do we do that? What are the requirements for a seller to come on board? They are actually not too complex, pretty simple requirements is what we have. Any seller that wants to sell on walmart.ca needs to have a Canadian business number. And if they are not based in Canada, they need to be set up as a non resident importer of goods. It’s a simple process, which can be done in parallel, while you are doing the application process on our platform itself. The other thing that we look for is some history of e-commerce or marketplace success, be it across other platforms, or be it on your own website.

Apart from that, we of course, look for a compelling product catalog, we want to ensure that the products we are displaying to our customers are exciting, they have well defined attributes available, they have good descriptions available high resolution images, so that if the customer is making a purchase decision he has all the information that is that is needed to make that purchase decision. And of course, we’re looking for competitive pricing via the marketplace. We do not dictate any of your pricing, we want you guys to decide your own pricing, we just want to be competitive in the market, so that our promise of delivering low prices to the customers is met.

And lastly, it’s about customer experience. So we want sellers on board who have the capability to ship directly to Canadian consumers with duties delivered prepaid. So if you are doing cross border trade shipping products from the US, shipping products from China, we want the duties and taxes to be prepaid. So that customer does not have to pay that at the time of delivery. One important thing which I would like to highlight is that by law in Canada, sellers do not need to have a Canadian warehouse, or a company registered in Canada, just like you might have to do on US marketplaces. You can directly ship from your international warehouses. To that extent, we have multiple sellers right now on board who are primarily either US based or even China based, and they directly ship from their international warehouses.

What is the process for application and onboarding? It’s actually a really simple process. We’ve been working to move in online, when we started off, it was still a very manual process. Now it’s an online application. You need to tell us about your business, about your products, about your shipping methods, about some of your operational methods in an online application. We’re going to review that. There is a contract to be signed, you can review the online contract also available. Once you complete the application process there is an onboarding team that it’s going to assist you with all the onboarding processes, which includes choosing the Sellercloud integration platform. You need to set up your items, we’re going to do some testing of orders and once we go live, there is an account management team that we have here, which will work with you on a regular basis on a day to day basis to ensure that your business grows on the platform. It’s not just the fact that your products are live and they might sell. There is a dedicated account management team which will work with all the sellers to ensure that your business grows exponentially.

So once you come on board, you completely own your presence on the platform, you manage your own catalog. As I mentioned, we do look for a good quality catalog which includes images, which includes good quality descriptions. You fulfill your own orders, you have complete freedom to use whatever shipping methods that you want. You can use whatever carriers that you want. In terms of pricing, you can decide whatever pricing that you want to completely be your own presence. In terms of fees, we only have a standard commission structure for each category. We do not have any kind of setup fees, any kind of monthly fees, any kind of item listing fees or any other hidden charges. It’s an extremely simple model in which we have a category level referral fees and that is what is deducted from your payments. And there are no other hidden charges.

In terms of shipping our platform does give the option of setting the shipping fees based on item value, based on the size of the item, based on quantity of units that you are sending and you can fine tune your shipping fees across five different zones. One of the other things that we have is that we have partnered up with a company called Dominion customs consultants to help provide a duty reduction and recovery program for all our sellers. In case you are interested in that program, we can share more details with you.

So this is another convenience that we provide for our customers, we do have an instant returns process to make our customer lives easier. So if a customer purchases a product on the marketplace and is not happy with it and wants to return it, you can actually return that product in the store nearest to them. What we’ve seen in the past is that it really helps in increasing the conversion. Because customers know that they can easily return the product and they don’t necessarily have to pack it up and ship it all the way to the seller which might be based in the US for all we know. It makes customer’s lives much easier, which increases their confidence in purchasing products from our platform, which again helps us build the virtuous cycle. So from a seller perspective, what we do is when the customer returns the item in the store, we consolidate them, we have partnered with the logistics service, we consolidate all the items in their warehouses that are supposed to be returned. And from there they are returned to your individual warehouses or the addresses that you would have provided during the time of onboarding.

This is a quick reference to the commission fees that we have. This is pretty competitive in the market. And as I said, apart from this, we really have no other hidden charges. There are no other item listings or setup fees or anything like that. This is all the cost of selling on the platform. I’m going to leave this for a few seconds for you to take a look at it. This is available on our website also.

And that’s it for me. If you wish to apply, you can visit marketplace.walmart.ca there is a link for an online application there. And if you have any queries, if you want to write to us, the email ID is mentioned right there mkplslcomm@walmart.com Feel free to write to us and we’ll be happy to address any queries that you have.

Julie Michael: Firstly, many products as Kunal mentioned aren’t available yet for the Canadian consumers, specifically in categories of Electronics, Baby products, Health and Wellness, Garden, Kitchen and Home Appliances. This gives you a lot of opportunities to expand your business.

We have a seamless API integration with Walmart CA. We download the orders from Walmart into Sellercloud, acknowledge the orders. We update the tracking back to the channel and we update the inventory and pricing. There is also an option to import the RMAs from Walmart to come into Sellercloud. And we recently created a new homepage with clear step by step instructions on how to integrate your Walmart Marketplace Canada account with Sellercloud. It’s very similar to the Walmart US integration but a bit more simple. Once the integration is complete, you’re going to be able to turn on the quarter and inventory controls from Sellercloud.

Sellercloud’s shipping solution Shipbridge is integrated with many carriers that ship internationally, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and Canada Post. The question is isn’t it expensive to ship from the US to Canada? So I did some research on my end and it looks like UPS and FedEx charge a higher customs brokerage fee. And USPS has no brokerage fee but if the item has duties, they might charge the customer for the duties which isn’t allowed by Walmart’s rules. From my research it looked like the carrier with the best pricing appeared to be Asendia, EPC and different aggregate services, such as DHL Global, or Mail Innovations. The way these work is that they give you sort of like a bulk rate and it comes out cheaper for you. You could do your own research and see what works for you.

Some people choose to have two warehouses. One in the US, for example, and one in Canada. And what they would do is they would have inventory, post it to warehouses. And they would set on Sellercloud, a post order plugin called Split by warehouse, that as orders come in, the plugin would check to see which warehouse there’s inventory available, and then they would set that order to the warehouse that has inventory. We have a generic plugin out of the box called Split by warehouse format. It could be put onto your server by a Support Rep. If you already have an existing post order plugin, we could always combine this plugin with your current one. So then it would work. If you do plan on using this feature, you would have to set up location and stations on Shipbridge. And there’s also a Shipbridge setting that would have to be turned on called Only load orders from specific warehouses. After all these things are turned on and set up, then all of your Canadian orders would go to the Shipbridge that is set up in your Canadian warehouse and all the US orders go to the Shipbridge that is set up in the US. And some people also use the 3PLs that are in Canada and it accomplishes the same thing.

Sellercloud’s Reporting Suite automatically applies a foreign currency conversion for your convenience. There is also an option, let’s say you want to only convert your currency when there’s better exchange rate. You could override the feature, your own actual conversion rates. We connect through API to get the most updated ones and every day when we generate the reports, we also get the latest conversion currencies.

The actual step of posting is very easy if you have all of your walmart.com. That’s US listings already live. Because you just create shadows in bulk and the process is similar to the Walmart.us process. You would need the attributes to be filled out and have the product ready for Walmart. Then you could post it and it could be done in bulk as well. Whoever already put in a question. We’ll go through your questions first. If anyone has any questions, feel free to do it now.

Kunal Gupta: Yeah, I had a few questions that I can see here. If someone has a US account, can they also sell in Canada? I’m assuming you mean, Walmart US account. Yes, you can. You can sell on Walmart Canada marketplace, but you will still have to go through a quick application process. Even though the platforms are very similar, we do still have to make a separate account for you on the Canada platform. The good thing is that if you are already a seller on Walmart us the vetting process that the compliance team does is going to be much much quicker. And you will actually not have to go through that vetting process simply because the US platform would have already ensured that all requirements are being met. So yes, you can sell in Canada, but you will still have to go through the application process.

Someone has a Canada account, can they still sell it to us? Yeah, the same answer applies. Just that it’s a different account that has to be created for the two different geographies.

Next question is does Walmart Canada recommend any 3PLs in Canada? We don’t necessarily recommend any particular third party logistics service. All we request is that you use a reliable shipping partner so that the shipping duration that you’re showing to the customer is being met and the customer does not get frustrated if he does not receive an order on time. But if you’re looking for any particular insights on what is working well in Canada, we’ll be happy to connect you to our operations team and they should be in a position to give you more insights on this. The email ID that I have provided in the deck. Please feel free to write this. I don’t know who wrote this particular question, but please feel free to write to us and we can provide more insights.

So the next question is: Does Walmart Canada intend to set up warehouses for efficient distribution like Amazon has? Yes, we intend to do that. We definitely intend to develop our shipping options for the marketplace, but they are going to take some time. As of now, I don’t think they’re going to happen anytime soon, at least for the next year or so.

What is the referral fee per order? I’d given the referral fee schedule in the deck itself. We just have a very simple category by category percentage referral fee schedule, and apart from that, there are no other fees that we charge. That is all that I can see right now. Are there any other questions?

Julie Michael: One more is coming in. The next question is, how do instore returns work? Seems like people have issues that take months to get back the products.

Kunal Gupta: So, the process of instant returns, the way it works is that when the customer wants to return the product, they can select the way they want to return it, whether they want to directly send it to the seller, or they want to return it in one of our stores. When it comes to our stores the team at the store checks the product, they check the invoice, then they check the particular return policies that that particular seller has agreed to in the system. So as a seller, you do have the option to set different return policies in terms of what is the period in which the customer can return the product, which particular kind of products can be returned. I mean, there are for example, some hazardous products like a laptop battery can’t be returned in store, for example, they have to be directly returned to the seller warehouse. But apart from that, the returns policy can be set by the seller itself. The executives in the store will look at those policies and accordingly they will accept or reject that return. Once that return is accepted our stores then collate all of that inventory. We send it to one of our logistics partners, they actually consolidate all the inventory coming in from various stores. And they ensure that the inventory is sent to the sellers warehouse.

Now, yes, we have seen in the past that there have been some issues in sending the products back to sellers. We have been working extensively on improving that process. Recently, in fact, there have been a couple of tech upgrades that we have seen that are going to improve that process. And yes, I’m not gonna say that it’s a 100% perfect process. But we are definitely in the process of improving that. And that is one of the topmost agendas on our mind.

The next one that I see here, is there a minimum GMV required to sell on Walmart Canada? Well, yes or no. So we do have certain specific requirements. As I said, we are looking for sellers who have a demonstrated history of success in e-commerce, even though we are looking for sellers who have some degree of success in the past. But I would not really want to put a minimum GMV number like that, because it’s not a very black and white criteria like that. We look at which particular category of products you are in. Well, we do look at whether it’s a priority category for us, we do look at what are the other kinds of sellers in products that are already available on the platform? What kind of pricing can you bring in? What kind of shipping services can you bring in and all of that? So it’s not really that black and white. Please feel free to either write to us or just just go to the online application and fill in the details and we will definitely get back to you.

Julie Michael: I’ll read some questions for you. They want to know about their pricing. Will it be in US dollars or Canadian dollars?

Kunal Gupta: Canadian dollars.

Julie Michael: Could we fulfill from Amazon.ca FBA warehouse?

Kunal Gupta: No, you can’t.

Julie Michael: This person wants to know if they could have Walmart’s account, let’s say for UPS or FedEx, and then they would ship out there or use your account.

Kunal Gupta: No, we can’t do that. So again, as I said the sellers are responsible to ship the products directly to the consumers. There is a certain partnership that Walmart has with some of the major logistics players. And in some of the cases, we are able to provide subsidized shipping rate cuts from these providers for some of our sellers. That’s a very case to case basis decision that is taken by the Operations team. Once we get an application, we can have that discussion post that

Julie Michael: Someone wants to know how they could get a Canadian CN business number?

Kunal Gupta: Can we do that online? I can actually send you the links for getting Canadian business numbers and setting up the import license. I can send you the links for that and you can share that with all the participants.

Julie Michael: Yeah, everyone will be getting a recording and the slides later on. So we’ll include the links for these. Okay, another person wants to know that if a return goes to Walmart, and then gets sent back to them, how do we make sure that the condition is as a customer described.

Kunal Gupta: So when a customer brings in an item to our store, the associated store definitely checks the product and ensures that the product is in the right condition. If the customer chooses to directly send it back to the seller at that point of time, the Walmart supply chain or the Walmart store does not really have any access to that particular product. And then in that scenario, we can ensure the condition of the product.

Julie Michael: Someone else wants to know if they could charge a restocking fee, when they get an order back or return.

Kunal Gupta: No, we can’t do that. But what we have recently done is a small change that we have made. So if a customer earlier used to return the product and they used to get the entire money paid back to them which included the shipping charge. The change that we have done is that if a customer is returning the product and saying that they changed their mind, in the sense that they wanted this product earlier, and now they have changed their mind and they don’t want it anymore. In those scenarios, we do not refund back the shipping fees to the customer.

Julie Michael: Another person wants to know if Walmart helps with registering, like natural health products and cosmetics with Health Canada.

Kunal Gupta: We won’t be a part of that. I mean, if there are products, which need specific kinds of certifications from the government to sell, that is up to the seller to ensure that they are complying with the relevant requirements.

Julie Michael: Someone else wants to know who pays for the in store, returns the freight like an order and the product gets returned to your store to get it.

Kunal Gupta: We bear the entire cost of that. So yeah, when a customer brings the product to the store, the responsibility and the cost for consolidating all of that and sending it back to the seller is with us.

Julie Michael: Okay, the next question is: people want to know if you have to set up a Canadian company or can you just be a US company? And also – Do you need a Canadian bank account? Or could it be a US one?

Kunal Gupta: You can be a US company as I said you don’t need to set up a Canadian company, you just need a Canadian business number. And if you’re based outside of Canada, you need to be set up as a non resident importer. I’ll send out the links for that. You can use your US Bank Account so our entire payments are processed through this company called Payoneer. Many of you might be aware of us. Walmart US also works with Payoneer, so all your payments are actually made by Payoneer. We pay to Payoneer and Payoneer will pay you guys. As part of the onboarding process, you will also be onboarding and connecting with Payoneer and completing the relevant details in their system too. So that whenever a transaction by a customer is completed, we will make the payment to Payoneer and they will send the payment to you.

Julie Michael: Okay, another question is: someone wants to be able to import their existing listings from Walmart into Sellercloud. So the answer is that it could be done. You go to Company Settings, Toolbox, Walmart Marketplace and then you would look at the option to download the active listings, and then you click Create product. It’s easier to see it when you’re sharing the Sellercloud screen. But yes, there is an option. Another person wants to know if returns are shipped back individually as they come in or you could compile that amount of returns, before shipping it back.

Kunal Gupta: They are consolidated at the warehouse of our logistics partner. We work with this company called TRG. They consolidate it at their end, before sending it back to you.

Julie Michael: Okay, someone else wants to know, if there’s going to be more options in Walmart returns. Right now the option basically is Reject. And not so many options, are you going to be adding more Rejection options, or like Return reasons,

Kunal Gupta: We do not really expect our partners to be rejecting returns. There’s an option currently, but we do provide an option of returns to our customers and we expect our seller partners to adhere to that. That is a convenience that the customers get, which they feel confident to actually place an order in the first place. I’m not really too sure what kind of other options somebody is looking for. But I’m very happy to have a chat on that, please feel free to write us an email on that. And we can schedule a call and discuss that further.

Julie Michael: Okay, another question here is, is Walmart DSP separate from Walmart marketplace?

Kunal Gupta: Yes. So there are two different teams, for the marketplace and for DSP. The way DSP works, if a customer places an order, that is when our logistics network is going to pick up that inventory from our warehouse and deliver it to the customer as opposed to the marketplace, where you own that entire order and you ensure that you are delivering that product to the customer. Two different processes, two different teams. Marketplace right now in that sense is a much bigger wider channel wherein you can host millions of your products online. DSV in that sense is a relatively more limited channel and the team works with a limited number of brands.

Julie Michael: Do you have any expensive products for like email marketing.

Kunal Gupta: As for marketing options, there are a few things. First of all, as I said, there is account management team which will work with you to ensure that your business is growing. And to do that, we do have a lot of online events on the platform and the account management team will work with you to ensure that your products do get the visibility through various deals of the week or daily deals or other events that we keep doing. Apart from that we are working actually with Google to develop marketing packages. They are work in progress as I speak, but we are working with them for a paid package for our marketplace sellers, wherein sellers can opt in for one of those marketing packages and then the seller products will show up as search results when a customer is searching products on Google.

Julie Michael: Last question. Does Walmart.ca require price matching with Amazon.ca?

Kunal Gupta: We do expect our seller partners to be price competitive. We don’t dictate pricing. We will not send you any kind of communication saying that your price should be this or that. But as I said we definitely expect you to be competitive in the market to ensure that Walmart’s fundamental principle of being the lowest price in the market is being met.

Julie Michael: There are a lot of more questions, but we’re going to end for now. And we’ll try to answer all the rest of them through email. Thank you everyone for joining our webinar and wishing you lots of success and expanding your business.

Kunal Gupta: Thanks everybody. Thank you for attending. Have a good day.

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