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Walmart is taking a bigger step into working with creators.
The retailer said on Tuesday that it is rolling out a new platform that is designed to help creators easily monetize products sold by the retailer when they appear in shoppable content.
Called Walmart Creator, the platform is described in a news release as a one-stop portal that will provide access to “tens of thousands of products” for creators. It will offer opportunities to earn revenue in the form of commission on sales that creators refer to Walmart. The platform, said Walmart, "democratizes the tools and resources" needed to be a creator.
“We know our customers are inspired by the content and stories they see from their favorite influencers in their social feeds every day,” said William White, chief marketing officer of Walmart US, in a statement. “This next step in our strategy will help fuel inspiration for our customers by connecting their favorite creators directly with our brand and the brands they love at Walmart.”
The platform is being released in beta during the 2022 holiday season, with a wider rollout expected in 2023.
More details on how it works from Walmart:
- Links to product pages can be shared on any platform or group.
- Product recommendations based on a creator’s interests will be provided.
- Performance data will be available through the platform via an analytics dashboard..
There have been hints of Walmart’s work on a creator platform in recent months. In August, Reuters flagged trademarked filed by the retailer for "Walmart Creator" and "Walmart Creator Collective.” The story noted that Walmart already works with creators as it promotes goods like apparel and groceries, as well as its Walmart+ membership program. Walmart has also made forays into livestream shopping, which centers on sessions hosted by creators. This included recent partnerships that were announced with TalkShopLive and Firework, as well as an integration that will allow Walmart Connect, the retailer’s advertising arm, to serve in-feed ads on TikTok.
Creators and retailers
Spurred on by the rise of TikTok and the staying power of YouTube, creators have become a force in social marketing. With large audiences built primarily around video-based content and often particular interest areas, creators often promote products in content, while directing users to complete a purchase through affiliate links.
While TikTok already has (and is upgrading) a creator marketplace to help creators connect with brands and agencies, Walmart’s introduction of a platform shows a role for retailers. Walmart’s release suggested that it will leverage the volume of products offered through its marketplace of first and third-party sellers to provide curated product collections. It will also offer connections to brands, with opportunities to apply for brand campaigns set to be made available through the platform.
Walmart is among ecommerce platforms that are increasingly recognizing the opportunity to not only sell goods made by others, but also to directly market that merchandise. In August, Shopify recently rolled out its own creator platform, called Collabs, which is designed to connect merchants and creators. Meanwhile, Amazon’s growing work with creators has been on display at its recent shopping events. During last week’s Prime Early Access Sale and July’s Prime Day, platforms like TikTok and Instagram were filled with content promoting the deals, while Amazon ran live sessions where creators talked about the products on sale. Instacart, too, is rolling out its own creator-friendly features like curated Carts and shoppable recipes.
Walmart’s exact plans for where creators will fit within its own strategy aren’t clear yet, but the new platform announced this week gives it a jumping off point to connect directly with creators, and establish working relationships. The company’s news release said that it plans to evolve the platform and to “build features and experiences that make it easy for creators to create and publish content, and customers to shop their favorite products through Walmart.”
That could go in a number of different directions, from shoppable content that appears on Walmart’s site, to content that is ported to other platforms. We’ll be looking for hints about Walmart’s approach during the holiday season.
In the meantime, creators can apply for beta access to the platform at WalmartCreator.com.
Trending in Marketing
Walmart's third-party marketplace is reducing commission rates for 90 days.
To kick off 2023, Walmart’s third-party marketplace is continuing to make moves to expand the number of sellers on the platform with a savings incentive.
The news: Starting this week, Walmart Marketplace is running a Seller Savings promotion for 90 days that provides new sellers with a 25% commission rate reduction. This allows sellers to try new tools including:
- Walmart Fulfillment Services, which allows third-party sellers to tap Walmart’s logistics network, and in turn offer two-day shipping.
- Sponsored search advertising, which allows brands to run search ads within the Walmart Marketplace.
- Repricer: An automated pricing tool that automatically updates prices based on other ecommerce platforms, or Walmart Marketplace.
Growing the Marketplace: Walmart’s third-party marketplace has been a focus area of expansion efforts from the world’s largest retailer, and it showed results in 2022. In the company’s most recent earnings report, executives said the Marketplace’s SKU count increased by 50% to 370 million SKUs, and it onboarded 8,000 new sellers in the quarter.
Along with services such as fulfillment and advertising, Walmart said it is continuing to upgrade its experience for sellers, including introducing a faster onboarding process. In September, the company also provided access to an advertising tool that boosts products to the top of search results called Search Brand Amplifier, and provided automatic onboarding to Walmart's ad portal upon launch. In a move to grow internationally, the company opened the Marketplace to Canadian sellers.
The flywheel spins: For Walmart, the Marketplace is a key part of its bid to grow ecommerce. Adding more sellers allows the retailer to expand the assortment of items available on the platform. This helps the company offer more items that keep shoppers coming back, and keep prices down. At the same time, Walmart is working to engage more repeat customers through its Walmart+ membership program. A bigger Marketplace also bolsters the importance of advertising on Walmart ecommerce, as brands seek ways to stand out on an ever-growing platform.
“We're scaling our newer businesses and connecting them to our larger, established retail businesses, primarily by how we design digital interactions,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts on the earnings call. “One example is how our growth in ecommerce, especially the marketplace, fuels our ad business. More items and sellers drive GMV and improved customer satisfaction. And it also drives success in advertising. They're mutually reinforcing.”
What it means for marketplaces: Any discussion of third-party marketplaces would be incomplete without mention of Amazon, which pioneered the model and continues to operate a juggernaut through its Fulfillment by Amazon program. However, Walmart's emergence is one of the clearer signals that sellers are increasingly looking to have a presence across multiple marketplaces. Increasingly, ecommerce platforms are marketing to sellers, just as they are to consumers.