My team and I have the privilege of working with many sellers who are new to advertising on Walmart or even new to the entire Walmart marketplace. Naturally, they have a lot of questions about how it all works.
We frequently hear questions that revolve around how to know if it’s time to start advertising. What ducks do I need to get lined up to get the most from advertising? Should I hold off on starting ads until I optimize my listings?
Here’s how I answer the most frequently asked questions.
Should I Wait To Start Advertising?
The short answer is, yes and no. Yes, getting the details right on things like listing optimization and fulfillment is important. You want to have your products in relatively good shape to make the most of your advertising program.
But does everything need to be perfect before you can start? Absolutely not!
In fact, advertising is part of the solution that will power healthier listings with increased impressions, leading to increased conversions, leading to more reviews. That’s the flywheel effect which we named our software after.
Let’s get more specific about what you do and don’t need to handle before you can start advertising. Here are three questions we’ve heard about Walmart retail readiness, and my answers.
Should I Get A Pro Seller Badge Before I Advertise?
The short version is the jury is still out on the value of the Pro Seller Badge. This is a badge Walmart assigned to indicate a certain level of quality performance for a seller.
There are pros and cons to the badge, but the really critical thing to understand is that having a Pro Seller badge does NOT rank you higher in search (at least not now). On top of that, there’s no data regarding impact on conversion rates. Anecdotally, we haven’t seen a significant positive impact from the badge amongst our clients who do have it.
Another thing to consider: it’s not easy to get a badge (less than 0.5% of sellers have it) and the qualifications are stringent. In brief, what’s required is:
- High listing quality score
- Low delivery defect rate
- Low cancellation rate
- 100% of your items offer free returns
See this Walmart help center page that highlights the qualifications in detail.
In my opinion, it would be great to have the badge. The team at Walmart built it for a reason. But it’s still very new and it should not at all be a prerequisite for implementing successful advertising.
Should I Clean Up Product Detail Pages Before I Advertise?
Yes, cleaning up product detail pages would certainly help. However, unless the listing is an absolute dumpster fire, it should not be an absolute prerequisite.
Here’s what is a prerequisite:
- Having a decent listing (doesn’t have to be perfect, but is it pretty good?)
- Having multiple positive reviews
- Offering 2-day shipping or AT LEAST free shipping.
The more retail-ready the listings are, the better advertising can perform. Striving to be absolutely perfect is always a moving target.
Walmart also has a Content Quality Score. If you’re selling on Walmart, you should see what yours is. Here’s a great resource from Walmart on what goes into that score and how you can better optimize your listings: Listing Quality Optimization Guide.
You’ll need to have quality listings in order to be eligible for the Pro Badge discussed above.
Should I Set Up Walmart Fulfillment Services Before Advertising?
For most sellers and brands, the answer will be no, because Walmart won’t even approve Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) for everyone.
However, if you are approved for WFS and are deciding whether it’s important, my question would be: how are you fulfilling today? Did you have 2-day shipping enabled already?
2-day shipping tags can increase conversion rates by an average of 41.2%. If you do not have 2-day shipping then absolutely, WFS would be a great option because that should enable 2-day shipping just like with Amazon Prime.
If you already have 2-day shipping, it really comes down to how much product you move, The highest-moving SKUs would be a great selection for WFS.
The Takeaway For Advertising Your Walmart Listings
Here’s my final take: If you have inventory, have a decent listing, and you have a reliable shipping solution in place, you’re ready to start advertising.
I look at scaling a business on Walmart and Amazon as a series of races in parallel, rather than a relay race where you have to complete one leg before the other.
If everything is in decent shape, a brand should launch advertising now and know that every time they complete a race (eg. Listing Quality improves, Pro Seller Badge achieved, etc.) then advertising will perform even better.
Sure, advertising probably won’t perform at its peak potential when your offering isn’t tuned to the best it can be, but it will provide a big boost and that boost will only be amplified every time you knock something else off the list.