No seller is surprised when I say the holiday season is the most important season for their business. Limited-time deals, exclusive offerings, and unmatched sales put customers across America in a festive giving mood. Last year, despite rising inflation, U.S. holiday sales grew to $936.3 billion, up 5.3% compared to 2021¹—the most holiday sales recorded yet.
The holidays are a chance for sellers to increase revenue and create long-lasting customer relationships. By preparing and optimizing now, sellers have the greatest chance of making the most out of the opportunity that this year’s holiday season represents. Any seller can make it their best yet by following these tips for holiday readiness.
1. Offer best-in-market pricing
Consumer spending is high during the holiday season which naturally leads to price sensitivity. Shoppers are looking for deals and expect to get high value out of their dollar. By offering competitive prices, you entice existing customers and new ones alike. Plus, low prices can act as a catalyst for purchases, ultimately leading to greater transaction volume and revenue generation. Pricing strategically is especially important online as consumers can easily compare prices across platforms and marketplaces with a simple search.
Offering competitively priced products demonstrates a seller’s commitment to providing value for money, earning a customer’s trust and confidence for the rest of the year. Walmart’s commitment to Every Day Low Prices is a driver of our success—81% of our customers say low prices are the top reason why they shop with us during the holidays.2 In addition, sellers on Walmart Marketplace can utilize Repricer to take control of their prices. Repricer is a free, automated pricing tool that automatically adjusts prices to close the gap on the competition in real time.
2. Generate buzz with promotions, discounts and bundles
Sales foster a sense of excitement and urgency among consumers. They’re powerful motivators to purchase and leave both sellers and customers feeling satisfied—the seller from increased sales, and the customers from seeing more value out of their dollar. In a survey of Walmart customers, 79% of them anticipate sales or promotions will be top influencers for their holiday purchases.3
Different promotion strategies will work for different customers and will help achieve different goals. By offering incentives tailored to various customers, sellers can effectively capture the attention of bargain hunters, encourage repeat shopping, and ultimately bolster overall sales. You can also bundle related items to make gift giving even easier.
3. Invest in advertising to increase product awareness and conversion
The role of a robust advertising strategy cannot be diminished, as it not only generates interest in your products, but it can also distinguish them from competitors. By leveraging targeted advertising campaigns throughout the season, sellers can effectively capture the attention of potential customers and ultimately drive sales.
Investing in advertising can help maximize the scale of a large audience while helping to build brand awareness and product discoverability. With Walmart Connect’s Sponsored Search, sellers are able to boost the placement of their products to appear in relevant searches to in-market customers. Last year, sellers who advertised with Sponsored Search on Black Friday saw, on average, a 61% increase in ROAS and a 61% increase in conversion.4
4. Don’t miss out on sales—offer fast, free shipping
Convenient shipping is an incredibly important part of the ecommerce experience. In one survey, 68% of U.S. online shoppers5 said they didn’t make a purchase more than half the time if the brand didn’t offer free shipping. Fast shipping is crucial during the holiday season when shopping for last-minute gifts is common. It’s also when shipping can be the most unpredictable.
Luckily, there are solutions that make it easier. For sellers on Walmart Marketplace we offer Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), our end-to-end fulfillment solution. Sellers that enable WFS can offer two-day shipping across the contiguous U.S. at a competitive cost. Sellers have seen a 50% GMV growth6 on average for key items fulfilled by WFS and reap the added benefits of customer service and returns, which is another critical component to holiday planning.
5. Make the post-purchase experience as enjoyable as shopping
Sellers who only think about the shopping experience have eyes on half the situation —returns and exchanges must also be convenient. A smooth exchange and return process improves customer satisfaction, enhances your reputation, and can be a powerful competitive advantage. Customers are also more likely to purchase if they know they can easily exchange or return items and more likely to buy again if they perceive your brand to be one that handles returns gracefully.
Make sure your return strategy is robust, as you’re likely to see more returns and exchanges than usual during the holidays. Customers appreciate having options that fit their schedules and needs and many sellers now offer multiple drop locations for return packages. An omni-channel strategy is ideal as it allows customers even more flexibility when it comes to purchases, returns, and exchanges. Walmart customers often shop online and make returns in person at a retail store, or initiate their returns online.
6. Start prepping now
It’s never too early—or too late—to think about the holidays. All sellers benefit from having a promotional plan, assortment strategy, and fulfillment logistics figured out well in advance. Most Walmart customers start researching and planning for holiday shopping early—56% in October and 23% in November before Thanksgiving. Only 7% start after Thanksgiving. A quarter of Walmart shoppers plan to actually start shopping in October, so if your plans aren’t defined by then, you could be missing out on customers.7
It’s also prudent to think about post-holiday sales. Shoppers are often looking for bargains and discounted items after the holiday rush, which is an excellent opportunity to clear out excess inventory and make room for new merchandise. Post-holiday sales also attract budget-conscious customers and maintain customer engagement during what can be slower months for retail.
7. Forecast your inventory and set yourself up for success
You’ve heard of preparing for the worst, but during the holidays, it’s also important to prepare for the best.
Walmart Marketplace sellers saw an incredible lift in sales across the board during the holiday season in 2022, and categories such as Furniture, Health Care, and Vacuums & Floorcare had especially remarkable YoY GMV growth. Overall, over 9 million Marketplace orders were placed in the top 20 categories during the months of November and December.8
No seller wants to find themselves out of inventory during the best-selling season of the year, and it’s very possible to suffer from your own success if you’re not conscious of your backstock. Make sure you stay ahead of demand and stock up. Speak to your suppliers early to ensure you have the inventory you need to make the most out of the holiday season.
Make this holiday season your best yet
The holidays are an unmatched opportunity for retailers to boost sales, win customer loyalty, and establish a long-lasting impression on customers. By following these tips, you’ll be able to maximize revenue during the festive season. It’s not too late to get started, but if you’re not sure where to begin, we’re hosting Merry Marketplace, a virtual conference to help new and existing sellers alike learn how to take advantage of everything Walmart has to offer for holiday success.
Right now, signing up to sell on Walmart Marketplace only takes a few easy steps. If you onboard now, you’ll be ready to offer your best deals to Walmart’s millions of customers and take advantage of the busy holiday season.
¹ National Retail Federation. “NRF Says 2022 Holiday Sales Grew 5.3% to $936.3 Billion.” NRF, 2022, https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/nrf-says-2022-holiday-sales-grew-53-9363-billion.
Walmart first-party data, 2022
2 Walmart first-party data, March–May 2022, Walmart Customer Spark Community, provided by Walmart Luminate.
3 Walmart first-party data, March–May 2022, Walmart Customer Spark Community, provided by Walmart Luminate.
4 Walmart first-party data, Black Friday 2022 vs. All other days in 2022
5 “Nosto. “Shipping and Delivery Statistics,” https://www.nosto.com/ecommerce-statistics/shipping-delivery/
6 Walmart first-party data [February 2022]
7 Walmart first-party data, March–May 2022, Walmart Customer Spark Community, provided by Walmart Luminate.
8 Walmart first-party data, Holiday season from 11/01/22-12/24/22