Walmart is launching “Fulfilled by Walmart” offering third party retailers storage and shipping services as it ramps up its rivalry with Amazon.
Earlier this week Walmart’s head of ecommerce Marc Lore announced that the retailer was planning to start selling access to its fulfilment and distribution network, taking a page directly from Amazon’s book having launched “Fulfilment by Amazon” in 2006.
Walmart’s marketplace platform for third party sellers was launched in 2009 and now offers around 75 million products, less than a third of Amazon’s 300 million.
Though both charge similar fees for sellers to list items on their respective platforms, until now Walmart has relied on other companies to handle deliveries.
A launch date for Walmart’s fulfilment service is yet to be announced, however it is expected to be a valuable new source of revenue for Walmart’s struggling online business, which Morgan Stanley predicts will post losses of $1.7 billion this year.
According to Feedvisor, around 75 per cent of Amazon customers utilise its fulfilment service in some form, suggesting a potentially huge audience for Walmart, which already has an extensive warehouse network across the US and 6500 private delivery trucks.