Walmart + Shopify partner to help independent brands
Yesterday, Walmart & Shopify announced a partnership that will open the Walmart.com marketplace to Shopify sellers. The plans are to add 1200 stores this year, which will help increase the exposure of those stores products by adding listings to Walmart's listings.
The move looks like a win for Shopify, as this helps to get merchants' products in front of more customers relatively easily. The Walmart marketplace isn't new, and hasn't been restricted to non-Shopify sellers. There are in fact many that sell on both platforms. This changes the ease of getting going and will presumably feature inventory and order integration.
It's a surprising partnership in some regards. Looking at this from the perspective of Walmart as a big-box low-price retailer, it doesn't seem a natural fit for independent brands looking to connect directly with customers. Walmart's marketplace has grown much faster than the site itself and as they work to compete with Amazon, they have shown a willingness to invest in brands like Moosejaw, Modcloth, Bonobos, and others. This follows in the same line and reveals that Walmart may actually recognize the value of a network of strong independent brands. It's perhaps a move counter to the more cannibalistic moves of Amazon's treatment of marketplace sellers.
For Shopify, this a clear win, giving merchants more options to sell products. Shopify has continued to improve the headless commerce capabilities of the platform by giving merchants the ability to sell products in countless outlets, and manage it all from one backend.
This seemed highly unlikely not long ago, given the background of the companies. Now it looks like a clear win for independent brands.