Walmart has become one of the favored digital marketplaces by both shoppers and sellers.
According to Comscore, Walmart.com receives more than 150 million unique monthly visitors. And, Statista records show that they had reached 150 000 third-party sellers by May last year, which is a 66% increase compared to the number registered the year before.
While these numbers will continue to grow since Walmart relaxed its processes to join the marketplace, the competition is still not as fierce as in other marketplaces like Amazon, for example. This means you can get your share of that visitor traffic and make significant sales. But your product listings must be high-quality to gain better visibility and stand out against your competitors.
That’s where product listing optimization (PLO) comes in. Let’s talk more about what PLO for Walmart is, why it’s important, and how to get started with it.
Understanding PLO for Walmart
Similar to other marketplaces, Walmart has its own algorithm that decides which products will be ranked at the top and which ones go to the bottom. While only Walmart knows exactly how its algorithm works, ranking is, by design, based on whether your product listing accurately matches customers’ search intent. This depends on how relevant the keywords you’ve included in your product information are to the search query.
For example, if a customer searches for a “red chair” in Walmart.com’s search bar, will the results show your red chair listing at all? Or will it show up as another color chair you have listed on the platform?
If your product doesn’t show up at all, it means your listing is missing key information. If it’s irrelevant to the search query, it means there’s inaccurate information added to the listing.
Take a look at the below screenshots, one listing accurately matches the customer’s search intent, and the other doesn’t. Not only is the white chair irrelevant, but it also has inaccurate information, which can be confusing and frustrating to the customer.
However, you can’t simply throw in a few keywords and hope that your products will show up in front of customers. In fact, Walmart uses a quality score to rate product listings. It considers three specific factors when deciding on what an optimal product listing is:
We’ll talk more about these factors when we discuss how to get started with the optimization of your Walmart listings. But what's important to take note of right now is that PLO is a tactic that gives you the elements you need to match the search intent. That way, when a customer searches for products you sell on Walmart.com, your accurate listings can show up at the top of the results.
On top of gaining product visibility in search results, meeting Walmart’s listing quality requirements can help you get priority marketing opportunities, win the Buy Box to sell more, improve your conversion rate, and minimize product returns.
A guide on optimizing your Walmart product listing
If you’re wondering what is a quality listing according to Walmart, you’ve come to the right place. Walmart launched a Listing Quality Dashboard, which is a free tool that gives you measurable insights, quality scores, and recommendations aimed at helping you improve your product listings, drive sales and grow your business.
This tool enables you to evaluate the quality of your listings and gives you an opportunity to make changes or updates that can improve your Walmart efforts. So, while we’ll give you tips on how you can optimize your listing, we’d recommend you also take a closer look at your quality dashboard to get a full view of what’s happening.
Okay, let’s now explore the elements you’ll need to optimize with suggestions and recommendations from Walmart. The platform uses an optimization guide that they’ve coined as the Walmart Optimization Triangle, which acts as a guide to creating top-performing product listings on this digital marketplace.
Optimize your content
The focus here is how descriptive your listing is and whether your product content is error-free, up-to-date, accurate, and clearly organized. So, how do you optimize your content? Let’s get into it.
Make sure to select the right category for each of your products because that will ensure your products are assigned to the right section of Walmart’s digital shelf. The more organized your products are, the easier it is for customers to find them.
Specify the right product attributes for each product because they help identify what the product looks like and what it does. This includes everything from color, size, material, weight, volume, etc. Attributes also act as a navigation guide when customers are searching for products. Walmart’s recommendation is to check out listings similar to your products to see the most relevant attributes that are used in the left-hand navigation.
Create a simple but unique and short title of about 50-75 characters. Use only essential keywords such as brand name, product model, type, color, or feature. Here’s a real-life example from Walmart, “Mainstays Silver Grab and Go Stick Lamp with USB Port.”
Make your description as detailed as possible and include the right keywords in your paragraph. But when adding keywords, make sure you add them naturally rather than adding a lot of keywords as that would be keyword stuffing. Then list 3-10 key features that illustrate what the product can do to solve the customer’s problem.
Ensure that the description matches the product title and that there are no grammatical or spelling errors that could throw off customers as they read the descriptions to make a buying decision. We’ve put together 5 examples of the best product descriptions and explanations of why they work in our previous article. But keep in mind that Walmart generally prefers a minimum of 150 words for a description.
Add four high-resolution product images to your listings because online customers rely on them when making purchase decisions. Remember that customers cannot physically view and touch a product on Walmart’s online shopping platform, so giving them images from multiple different angles helps them visually understand the product.
Walmart recommends an image size of 2000 x 2000 pixels or higher, and the lowest you can go is at least 1000 x 1000 pixels, as it is the minimum zoomable size. The preferred background color is white, with RGB values of 255/255/255. The brand prefers that you don’t upload pictures that show accessories that are not included with the item.
Here’s a detailed Walmart product image guide.
Walmart has an optional feature that allows you to add rich media such as product videos or interactive 360-degree pictures. So, to improve the quality of your product listings, add rich media that will be useful to your customers. It can be videos that showcase how a product works in a real-life setting or how-to demos and other informative material like manuals and size charts.
Optimize your offers
Now that you’re aware of how to optimize your content, let’s take a look at how to optimize your pricing and fulfillment offers for a customer experience Walmart can reward you for.
According to their listing guidelines, you must set up reduced price and clearance tags to attract customers’ attention. Walmart’s well-known and loved by customers for its competitive pricing. In fact, this is an element the brand won’t compromise on, if your prices aren’t competitive, your listings can get unpublished.
The good news is you can appeal your unpublished listings. But you don’t have to let it get that far, optimize your prices now rather than later. You can use the pricing opportunities dashboard in Seller Center to see what you can improve on.
It’s crucial that you keep your inventory updated and ensure that the stock for fast-moving products is consistently replenished. When you keep your popular items in stock, they’ll always be visible in front of customers who are ready to buy. In the Seller Center, you’ll find the Inventory Feed Status dashboard, where you can assess your inventory and track what’s running out or has already run out.
Make sure that your order fulfillment meets customer expectations. Nowadays, customers are used to receiving their products on the same day, the next day, and within two to three business days of purchase. Fortunately, Walmart offers all of these shipping options under expedited shipping. The perk of expedited delivery options is that you could get Buy Box prominence, which could improve your sales potential.
But there are standard, free-value shipping, and freight options (for large products) that can take up to three to seven days. Here’s Walmart’s guide on the best shipping options they recommend.
Optimize your performance
As you know, customer experience doesn’t stop when customers receive their products. It continues long after, for instance, when they need to make returns or complaints. This is important to Walmart because keeping customers happy is in its DNA. So, let’s run through how to optimize for good ongoing performance.
Offer defect rate (ODR)
Keep your cancellations, returns, and shipping defects minimum to ensure that your order defect rate (ODR) stays below 2%. That’s because the lower your ODR, the better you’ll do as a seller. Walmart measures performance based on your ODR score, which you can find in the performance sections of the Seller Center.
The above factors, good quality content, competitive offers, and fast shipping speed can help you maintain a better ODR score. Handling cancellations, returns, and complaints swiftly and positively can also help achieve this goal. For instance, respond to both positive and negative feedback to thank and resolve customer dissatisfaction.
Speaking of feedback, encourage customers to leave reviews on products they’ve bought from you. You can participate in Walmart’s Spark Reviewer program or other related programs. Customer reviews can improve your ranking and conversions. The more 5 stars and positive feedback you get, the more your products are pushed to the top of the ranking list.
Listing your products on Walmart is only half the battle, you must put in more effort to achieve success on the platform. Always remember that customer experience is important to Walmart marketplace and everything mentioned above are all components of it.
They all help make customers’ shopping experiences easier and more fulfilling. So, optimization improves the quality of your listings, which in turn, enables you to create better customer experiences. Walmart will reward you for it, through better visibility, winning the Buy Box, increased conversion rate, and more.
Curious to know more about product listing optimization? Download this free whitepaper. Inside it, you’ll find tons of information on why you can’t use the same approach on every channel, how PLO is the key to ecommerce success, how a PIM system can fast-track your PLO efforts, and other useful tips.