For Walmart Suppliers: Here’s the Best Way to Ship to Distribution Centers
For many small to medium-sized companies, one of the best ways to increase sales and grow your brand awareness is to partner with a large-scale retailer. Not only does this give you higher exposure, but it often provides you with built-in management tools and top-end customer support, leaving you with more time to focus on your product line.
One of the largest retailers to offer such an opportunity is Walmart through its online Walmart Marketplace. But partnering with a globally-recognized household name also comes with strict seller requirements to ensure Walmart’s customers are satisfied… including making sure your deliveries reach those customers on time. Because when they don’t, your seller rating—and your budget—are on the line.
Here’s a look at what Walmart Marketplace offers, its seller requirements, and some ways you can leave the prospect of late deliveries in your rear view.
Selling on Walmart Marketplace
Similar to other major marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart Marketplace helps businesses of all sizes sell their products to a massive nationwide audience, a sometimes difficult goal for companies that rely on organic search and grassroots outreach for the majority of their sales. Walmart takes a small referral fee from each sale you make, but charges no subscription or sign-up fees.
There are a ton of benefits to selling your product through a major marketplace like Walmart. A few of them include:
- No setup or subscription fees
- Exposure to a customer base upwards of 100 million visitors
- Easy product and pricing management through Walmart’s Seller Center
- Customizable shipping methods and pricing
- Access to fulfillment services that qualify for free two-day shipping for customers
Curious about that last bullet? Unlike competitors such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Walmart does not fulfill Marketplace orders itself. Rather, Walmart requires you to:
- Ship all orders through Marketplace directly to your customer
- Ship your items to Walmart’s recommended distribution centers that are pre-approved for two-day delivery
These distribution centers will have Walmart LTL carriers handle the shipment of your order from the center to your customer… but you’re still responsible for getting your freight to that distribution center on time and in line with all Walmart seller requirements.
Walmart Supplier Requirements
For Walmart to accept products into the Marketplace, they must be packaged and shipped according to the company’s standards. These include:
- Non-branded shipping boxes (not even your own company name!)
- No included promotional materials
- Including a packing slip (this can be automatically created in the Walmart Seller Center)
- Providing a valid tracking number for each order
One key difference that sets Walmart Marketplace apart from some competitors is its “Seller Performance Standards.” To continue to partner with Walmart, shippers need to meet established thresholds to ensure customer satisfaction. These include:
- An order defect rate of less than 2% over 90 days
- An accurate, valid tracking rate of over 99%
- An on-time shipment rate of over 99%
While the first two points are generally within the seller’s control, it is perhaps this last point that becomes problematic for many LTL shippers. Because your goods are combined with those of others going to multiple different destinations, and because you don’t use your own fleet of delivery trucks, you typically have little control over your freight once it leaves your loading dock. The traditional hub-and-spoke model finds your shipment offloaded at multiple terminals, which can often result in delays if every other puzzle piece doesn’t fit perfectly as planned.
So what can LTL shippers do to avoid late delivery fees?
How to Avoid Walmart Shipping Late Fees
Whether you’re shipping directly to your customer or to one of Walmart’s partner distribution centers, there are steps you can take to ensure you meet that on-time delivery metric every time.
- Use the Walmart Seller Center to set up reasonable, accurate shipping windows that you’re confident you can meet every time. There are plenty of tiers to choose from, so choose wisely!
- Remember to always provide shipping confirmation and tracking info every time you receive an order. This helps ensure that you don’t get penalized for not providing this data before the expected shipping dates you set up for your orders.
- Keep detailed and accurate records of every shipment. If you can verify to Walmart that circumstances beyond your control prevented an on-time shipment, Walmart will adjust your record so that it won’t count against you.
- Use a freight broker for both your customer and distribution center shipping that can ensure on-time delivery… like Flock Freight!
Using our premium FlockDirect algorithm, Flock Freight can ship your LTL freight via full truckload service, matching your shipment to the perfect carrier on the most efficient route. That means your goods travel directly from your business to your chosen Walmart distribution center or to your customer’s door—and they arrive on time, every time. No offloading at terminals or slowdowns waiting for multiple carriers—just fast, stress-free LTL shipping.
Try FlockDirect for your next Walmart LTL shipment, and see the Flock Freight difference.