Walmart has announced it is opening its online marketplace to Shopify's 1 million business clients. The e-commerce deal means Walmart Marketplace's 120 million monthly visitors will also be able to find goods from some Shopify merchants.
"Growing our Marketplace is a strategic priority, and we are going to be smart as we grow. We will start integrating new sellers now and expect to add 1,200 Shopify sellers this year," Jeff Clementz, Vice President of Walmart Marketplace said in a statement. "Shopify has a long history of helping small businesses leverage scale, and we're proud to be part of the solution that is helping customers and other retailers."
For Shopify sellers, the move will be relatively simple – they just need to install the Walmart Marketplace capabilities within their suite of tools. Before they know it, their brand will be available to a dramatically increased number of shoppers with no additional subscription fees or upkeep costs. Walmart says it will specifically look for small- and medium-sized US sellers with a good customer service track record.
This is just another step in the right direction for Walmart, which has been steadily working to make its marketplace more competitive, even throughout the pandemic. In 2018, it announced Walmart Marketplace items would also be part of the company's free two-day shipping offering and be eligible for in-store returns.
As the pandemic has given other retailers cause to panic, Walmart provided an positive example: the company waived rent for its in-store tenants in April, rushed contactless payment systems, installed barriers to protect sales staff and customers, and pushed customers to shop for groceries online.
Just last month, Facebook announced it was partnering with Shopify to launch a new online shopping marketplace called Facebook Shops. By joining Shopify's ecommerce facilities with Facebook's scope, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke explains that "we are reducing the barriers to entrepreneurship and advancing the future of commerce."
According to some, the deal is a shot at Amazon, which has been putting third-party sellers in front of 300 million customers worldwide with the help of Amazon Fulfillment. Walmart has a competitive edge as it offers a physical outlet for returns. Unlike Amazon, Shopify only charges payment fees to merchants on its Shop app, which is geared to help customers shop directly from the merchants.
Following the announcement, Shopify shares surged as much as 7.6%.