Walmart and dropshipping: Everything you need to know

With a 79% growth in e-commerce sales last year, Walmart Marketplace — the world’s second-largest online marketplace — is closing in on No. 1 Amazon. This leaves dropshipping professionals and e-commerce suppliers wondering, “How can we get in on the action, too?” 

If you want to dropship with Walmart, you need to learn the rules. With all the policy changes and new programs, it’s hard to keep track of what’s allowed and what isn’t, never mind what some less-than-trustworthy sources tell you. 

In this guide, we break down everything you need to know about dropshipping with Walmart Marketplace so you can find your niche.

How does Walmart dropshipping work?

Let’s start by bursting the big bubble: the traditional model of dropshipping, where you buy products from Walmart and have them shipped directly to your customers, is not permitted.

According to the Terms of Use, Walmart “…reserves the right, at our sole discretion, to prohibit sales to dealers or resellers,” where reselling means, “purchasing or intending to purchase any Product(s) from Walmart for the purpose of engaging in a commercial sale of the same Product(s) to a third party.”

The idea is that you could open up your own online store using Shopify or BigCommerce, or maybe sell on an existing store like Etsy, and whenever you make a sale, you order the product from Walmart and have it delivered directly to your customer.

This seems like a lucrative model, especially with Walmart’s prices low enough for you to profit off of the markup. 

Source: GIPHY

In practice, however, it’s not that simple. For one thing, Walmart doesn’t allow it and will cancel your orders if it catches on. You frequently see sellers complaining about cancellations in dropshipping forums. So if you do choose to go ahead with your scheme, know that you’ll be up against Walmart itself. 

Moreover, if you’re marking up your prices to make a profit, your customers will realize they can just buy for a lower price straight from Walmart.

Add to that the complications of returns, sales taxes, product warranties, and the surprise when your customers receive a Walmart package in the mail, and you can see how it’s not a viable system. 

Regardless of the obstacles, there are plenty of third-party apps that promise to circumvent Walmart’s restrictions so that you can dropship freely. Always check the comments and reviews of these apps to get the big picture and see if they’re scammers. 

What are the options for dropshipping with Walmart?

All is not lost, however. Here are a few perfectly acceptable options for dropshipping with Walmart: 

  • Dropship on Walmart’s platform. Using a dropshipping supplier like Alibaba (not to be confused with AliExpress, which is a marketplace), you can still sell dropshipped products to Walmart customers. Dropshipping from Walmart is not permitted, but dropshipping on Walmart is fine.
  • Become a Drop Ship Vendor (DSV) or Walmart Supplier. Walmart Marketplace has a B2B program where you, as a supplier, sell products to Walmart for resale. In this scenario, you take the role of the manufacturer or wholesaler, not the direct retailer. You can either ship products to a Walmart warehouse or, through the DSV program, ship directly to the customer.
  •  Buy the items yourself for resale. The policies for most online marketplaces state that you can’t have items shipped directly from other retailers. You can, however, have them shipped to you and then you, in turn, ship them to your customers — a product sourcing method known as retail arbitrage. 

As long as you can manage one of those options, you’ll be able to dropship with Walmart carefree. 

What is a Walmart Drop Ship Vendor?

By becoming a Walmart Drop Ship Vendor (DSV), you fulfill the role of the manufacturer, without any concern for sales. You supply the goods, and Walmart sells them. 

You need to qualify to become a Walmart supplier. Walmart won’t accept just any wholesaler, so you may need to upgrade your business to meet its criteria. Check out Walmart’s Supplier Checklist to see which hoops you’ll have to jump through.

Before you apply to become a Walmart DSV, it’s important to understand the difference between Walmart DSVs and regular Walmart suppliers. Drop Ship Vendors ship the products directly to the customer, while regular suppliers ship products to Walmart storage facilities. The DSV program comes with more responsibilities, but there’s also more to gain. 

When you’re ready, you can begin your application here

How to dropship from Walmart to eBay or Amazon

The short answer is you can’t.

As we’ve mentioned above, Walmart cancels orders if it suspects you’re dropshipping from its store. Even if you can get around Walmart, both eBay and Amazon forbid it as well. Amazon’s dropshipping policy and eBay’s dropshipping policy both explicitly say you cannot purchase items from other retailers and ship them directly to their customers. 

You can, however, still use the retail arbitrage method explained above. Just make sure you have plenty of storage space! 

Get consumer feedback before selling on Walmart Marketplace

If you want to sell on Walmart Marketplace — or anywhere for that matter — it’s best to get the lay of the land first. Different markets attract different types of customers, and the shopping behaviors on one site may not translate to another. Every time you’re testing a new e-commerce sales channel, your first step should be to collect consumer data. 

Split testing on PickFu tells you precisely what shoppers want — and don’t want. If you’re stuck with a difficult decision about a product you’re selling or want to sell on Walmart, create a poll on PickFu to show each option to your target audience (which you specify) and see which performs better.

This PickFu poll asks potential buyers which of two foot rests they prefer.

Test product photos, packaging, product titles, or your entire listing on PickFu to see which one your specific customer segment prefers. You can even see how your products or pricing compare with other sellers by grabbing screenshots and testing those in a PickFu poll.

If you’re breaking into a new market like Walmart, guessing won’t help you. Concrete data will. Ready to dive deeper into selling on Walmart? Check out our guide on how to drive traffic to your Walmart listings.

Learn more: Optimize your product listings by testing design concepts, photos, and descriptions with a target audience of likely buyers.

Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis (he/him) is a freelance content writer specializing in design and e-commerce. For over a decade he's been sharing his industry knowledge through e-books, website copy, and blog articles.