As online shopping becomes a more integral part of consumer lives, Walmart is working with e-commerce platform Shopify in an initiative that will provide small- and mid-sized businesses access to its online marketplace.
In announcing the move, Jeff Clementz, vp/Walmart Marketplace, pointed out that the e-commerce business in the United States grew 74% in total last quarter, with growth in the company’s marketplace outpacing the overall sector even as first-party sales continued strong. As it launches the new initiative, he stated, Walmart will focus on U.S.-based small- and mid-sized businesses that offer assortments complementary to its own and that have a track record of exceeding customer expectations.
Shopify already facilitates web operations for third-party sellers who are interested in growing their businesses through trusted channels, Clementz said. As it works with Walmart, Shopify will support approved sellers in listing their items on Walmart.com, giving Walmart customers access to a broader assortment and approved sellers with a new method of reaching consumers.
Marketplace growth is a strategic priority for Walmart, Clementz asserted, and the company intends to be smart as it grows that function, first integrating 1,200 Shopify sellers this year.
Shopify has a history of helping small businesses leverage scale, he said, and Walmart is gratified that it can provide additional opportunity to sellers and consumers.
Clementz noted that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has said recently that competition is good in the retail business and that Walmart wants more retailers not fewer.