Walmart Marketplace is a major player in third-party e-commerce sales. But sellers say that the retail giant has a long way to go to catch up to Amazon. Insider spoke with 10 merchants who pointed out major issues in the company’s e-commerce platform. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

By all accounts, business for third-party online sellers on Walmart is booming.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrust it into the spotlight, as ecommerce spending soared to an estimated $183 billion last year.

Third-party sellers on Walmart jumped from 1,000 in 2016 to 70,000 in 2020, per Reuters.

Walmart Marketplace also acts as a direct rival to Amazon’s third-party merchants business. Amazon is the market leader in the third-party sales industry, and saw independent merchants generate $386 billion – 54% of net sales – for the company in 2020.

But 10 sellers that spoke with Insider and regularly hawk their wares on both Amazon and Walmart’s platform’s say that Walmart has a long way to go to catch up to Amazon in terms of customer service, how easy its website is to use, and the logistics around storing and shipping products.

‘Still in its infancy’

Third-party sellers aren’t alone in saying Walmart lags behind Amazon in ecommerce. In fact, Walmart started an overhaul of its ecommerce capabilities – known internally as Project Glass – to improve its online fulfillment performance for all products available online.

A leaked presentation about the initiative from March 2020 revealed that Walmart is aware that its consumer-facing ecommerce business is losing ground to Amazon when it comes to immediate needs, like groceries. But that sense of Walmart falling behind is more pronounced in the world of third-party sales.

One slide of the leaked deck appeared to indicate a graded range of Walmart’s capabilities, with “focused” indicating a solid performance and “out of scope” signalling that more work needed to be done to bolster that particular element. The presentation listed Walmart


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