In a head-to-head Amazon vs Walmart match-up, Walmart’s marketplace of around 1000 third-party seller pales in comparison to Amazon’s 2 million-plus marketplace sellers. But Walmart is actively seeking new sellers, and it’s a great time for businesses small and large to sell on Walmart with little competition. See how these marketplace titans stack up in our 7-point comparison.
Amazon vs Walmart Marketplace Comparison
|Requires approval to sell|
|Free seller account|
|Lower seller fees|
|Sell existing & add new products|
|Integrates with seller management tools|
Now lets examine these 7 key marketplace seller concerns in detail.
1. Amazon vs Walmart: Approval to Sell
Currently, anyone can sign up to sell on the Amazon marketplace, but the Walmart marketplace has a lengthy approval process. The initial Walmart seller application takes just 10 minutes or so to complete, but approval can take weeks. And they don’t accept every applicant. Walmart carefully screens potential third-party sellers and grants access only to those with a proven ecommerce track record. That includes selling from an independent website and/or a strong presence on other marketplaces, and a history of good customer reviews.
By contrast, to sell products on Amazon, new sellers simply need to open an Amazon account and within minutes, you can start selling products. There’s no prescreening of applicants or prior online sales experience required to sell on the Amazon marketplace.
Winner of this round for unfettered small business access: Amazon marketplace
2. Amazon vs Walmart: Costs & Fees
Both Amazon and Walmart charge sellers fees, but Walmart’s fees are fewer and more predictable. Here’s how the two marketplaces compare in both account fees and fees charged when products are sold.
Marketplace Seller Account Costs
Here’s an overview of the account fees for both marketplaces. We’ll detail the differences below.
Costs & Features Summary
|Amazon Individual Account|
|Amazon Pro Account|
|Walmart Seller Account|
Both marketplaces offer a free seller account. But Amazon’s free account, which is called the Individual Seller Account is quite limited. Individual sellers are restricted to certain product categories, can sell only 40 items per month, and have limited management features. To enjoy all of Amazon’s selling features, you need a Pro Seller Account which costs $39.99/mo. Yet even with a Pro account, there are category and product restrictions that can limit the types of products you can sell on Amazon.
In contrast, Walmart has just one seller account with no monthly fees, listing limitations, or category restrictions whatsoever.
Winner of this round with free, full-featured, and unfettered seller accounts: Walmart marketplace
Amazon & Walmart Sales-related Fees
Both Amazon and Walmart charge a fee for every product sold on their marketplace, but only Amazon tacks on additional fees. Here’s a comparison of each marketplace’s sales-related fees, which we’ll explain in detail below.
Fees Based on Products Sold
|Added Variable Fee|
|Added Listing Fee|
Both marketplaces charge third-party sellers a percentage fee, called a Referral Fee, on every product they sell on their respective marketplace. These fees are category-based and range from 6% to 20% of a product’s selling price, though most sellers typically pay an average of 15%.
Amazon’s referral fees and Walmart’s referral fees are almost identical, but Walmart pulls ahead of Amazon when it comes to added fees. As shown above, Walmart doesn’t tack on additional fees, whereas Amazon charges sellers added fees depending on the categories they sell in, and which type of account they use. This makes Amazon the more expensive marketplace platform for certain sellers.
Winner of this round with the lowest and most predictable seller fees: Walmart marketplace
3. Amazon vs Walmart: Seller Competition
Walmart’s marketplace is smaller than Amazon in all aspects, but this is exactly why it can be far more welcoming to new sellers. Here’s a quick comparison of the competitive landscape of each in terms of sellers and monthly visitors. We’ll examine these numbers in more detail below.
Third-party Seller Competition & Opportunity
|Items listed for sale|
In numbers of third-party sellers, Walmart is by far the smaller of the two marketplaces. It boasts about 1000 third-party sellers, while Amazon clocks in with more than 2 million third-party sellers in its ranks. When it comes to shoppers, Amazon attracts over 180 million marketplace shoppers each month, half of which are Prime members. This handily beats Walmart’s 110 million monthly shoppers.
Though Amazon attracts far more shoppers, sellers face far less competition on the Walmart marketplace. With more than 2 million third-party sellers vying for attention on Amazon, and over 480 million products for sale, the competitive landscape on Amazon is fierce. In contrast, Walmart’s 17 million products for sale and scant 1000 third-party sellers creates a far less competitive field for new sellers to enter, make their mark, and earn profits.
Winner of this round with less competition among third-party sellers: Walmart marketplace
4. Amazon vs Walmart: Fulfillment Options
Inventory management and order fulfillment are tasks that every marketplace seller must manage well to satisfy customers and maintain top seller reviews and rankings. Here’s a look at the fulfillment options available to sellers on each marketplace. We’ll explore the details below.
Third-party Seller Fulfillment Options
|Sellers can ship own orders|
|Offers a discounted fulfillment service|
|Connects to outsourced fulfillment services|
As shown above, Walmart doesn’t offer its sellers a fulfillment solution. Instead, Walmart sellers must handle the fulfillment of every product they sell on the marketplace. Sellers have two options for this. This can use their own in-house fulfillment solution or use a reliable fulfillment center to stock, pack, and ship their products.
In contrast, Amazon’s fulfillment service, Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA for short, is one of the driving forces behind Amazon’s vast third-party seller network. Through FBA, Amazon takes care of all product storage, order management, and shipping tasks for its sellers at deeply discounted rates. So, even micro sellers with zero shipping experience can sell alongside retail behemoths in the Amazon marketplace. But, an Amazon seller can also handle its own fulfillment in-house or via a fulfillment partner. Their choice.
Winner of this round with a stellar fulfillment solution: Amazon marketplace
5. Amazon vs Walmart: Listing & Managing Products
In product listing and management options, the Amazon and Walmart marketplaces are neck and neck. Third-party sellers on both Amazon and Walmart can sell products that are already listed for sale on each marketplace. Plus, sellers can create new product listings for items that don’t yet exist in each marketplace collection.
Amazon and Walmart marketplace sellers can also integrate their existing ecommerce systems to seamlessly upload product feeds, manage inventory, and adjust pricing for some or all product listings, as needed.
Winner of this round for product listing options and management: Tie
6. Amazon vs Walmart: Access to More Categories
Category access is an important feature for marketplace sellers. Access to more product categories leads to more selling opportunities. Here’s a look at how Amazon and Walmart compare when it comes to selling within various product categories. We’ll explore these differences below.
Product Category Restrictions
|Gated categories that require seller application|
|Completely restricted products & brands|
As you can see, only Amazon limits entire categories in which sellers can list products on their marketplace. On Amazon, certain categories like Home, Garden & Kitchen, are wide-open to all sellers. But many popular and competitive categories like Jewelry and Fashion Accessories are restricted, or what Amazon calls gated.
On Amazon, sellers must apply and be approved to sell items in gated categories, and only Pro account holders can apply. Sellers using Individual accounts can’t apply gated categories and thus are very limited in what they can sell on Amazon. In addition, on Amazon, there are certain categories and products that are completely off-limits to third-party sellers.
On the other end of the category spectrum, the Walmart marketplace has no set category restrictions. So, Walmart’s third-party sellers have an unlimited playing field in terms of the types of products that they can sell on the Walmart marketplace. However, Walmart does have some product and brand restrictions, but they are far easier to understand and work within compared to Amazon.
Winner of this round with no fully or partially restricted categories: Walmart marketplace
7. Amazon vs Walmart: Which integrates with seller management tools?
Being the more mature platform, Amazon’s marketplace has inspired thousands of developers to create software tools that help third-party sellers maximize their Amazon sales and profits. In contrast, the newer Walmart platform boasts far fewer seller tool solutions, but as the marketplace expands, that’s changing by the day.
Currently, Amazon sellers have many choices in tools and apps that help them research products and keywords, manage pricing, calculate profits, develop and manage listings, track pricing, and manage inventory. ANd while Walmart sellers can integrate many ecommerce, inventory, and order management systems to the Walmart platform, add-on repricers and product research tools for the Walmart marketplace aren’t as plentiful. Yet.
Bottom Line on Amazon vs Walmart: The Big Winner
The winner of this head-to-head matchup is, ultimately, the third-party sellers themselves. Walmart is nipping at Amazon’s heels and going after sellers with the promise of a vast audience of shoppers, predictably lower fees, and far less competition. As Walmart grows its marketplace and third-party seller stable, Amazon is fast adjusting its ways to be more seller-friendly.
In 2017, Amazon simplified both its seller fees and FBA fees and many industry watchers, myself included, think this is largely in response to the pressure Walmart is starting to exert. Walmart doesn’t want all of Amazon’s sellers, but the ones it wants are the experienced, proven, and profitable sellers. Amazon makes a lot of money off of those sellers. It seems the lure of Walmart is prompting Amazon to adjust its confounding pricing and policies and start treating all sellers with a bit more appreciation.
So, in the long run, third-party sellers who can learn to maximize both platforms for their own ends are the true winners of this great marketplace showdown.
Do you sell on Amazon, Walmart, or both? How do you think they stack up, and what’s your outlook for the future of sellers on these marketplaces? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights in the comments below.