The Walmart Marketplace can be an attractive alternative to Amazon for e-commerce businesses looking to diversify their sales channels. In this guide, we explain what third-party sellers must know about product safety, labeling, and certification requirements when selling on Walmart Marketplace.
This guide is largely based on seller requirements on their page titled Supplier Expectations Compliance Areas. We help you understand these requirements from a more practical perspective. Keep in mind that their requirements may have been updated since the date of publication. Further, these guidelines are not specifically targeting Walmart Marketplace sellers, but to Walmart’s suppliers in general.
What is Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart enables third-party sellers to sell products through the Walmart marketplace. The concept is similar to how Amazon enables businesses to sell through their marketplaces in the US, UK, EU, and beyond.
As such, Walmart is not buying your products in bulk to stock up in their own stores – but serves as an online marketplace where sellers can reach new customers.
They also provide logistics solutions, helping sellers deliver products to end-customers generated through the Walmart Marketplace.
Product Safety Requirements
We require our suppliers to meet all laws, mandatory standards, applicable voluntary consensus standards, and Walmart-specific requirements for all items offered for sale.
Walmart requires that all products sold through its marketplace are compliant with all applicable regulations and mandatory safety standards. However, they also mention Walmart-specific requirements and voluntary standards – which likely primarily refers to UL standards.
Walmart also clarifies that sellers must follow this process:
1. Research and assess laws, regulations, standards
The first step of the process is to research all applicable product regulations and standards that may apply to a product. Here’s an overview of what you need to take into consideration:
- Mandatory standards
- Voluntary standards
- Substance restrictions
- Product certification requirements
- Product labeling requirements
- Packaging labeling requirements
- Permits or approvals
Keep in mind that the exact requirements depend on the following factors:
- Product type
- Age group
- US state
2. Understand and comply with the laws and regulations at all jurisdictional levels (local, state, and federal)
Your next step is to implement the applicable requirements in practice. This can involve the following steps:
- Assess if your product design/construction is safe and compliant
- Book third-party lab testing (prototype and batch samples)
- Create product label files
- Create packaging label files
- Create mandatory certificates and other documents
They also highlight that you need to comply both with US federal regulations and state regulations. Some product regulations, such as CPSIA, apply in all US states while others are state-level regulations or standards. One example is California Proposition 65.
You can learn more in these guides:
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in California
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in New York
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in Oregon
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in Washington
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in Illinois
- Product Safety Standards & Regulations in Texas
3. Implement appropriate risk management systems
This could include facility monitoring, random sample testing, and other measures that help you monitor the status of your products. That said, it’s not crystal clear what measures they expect sellers to implement.
4. Provide documented verification of the compliance
This likely refers to mandatory product certificates and other documents. For example, issuing a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) is mandatory when selling children’s products in the United States. Further, issuing a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC) is mandatory for a range of products covered by the CPSC.
However, this could potentially also include lab test reports, technical files, user instructions, packaging label photocopies, and other documents that can be used to demonstrate compliance.
5. Submit products for testing
Third-party lab testing is mandatory for many products. Even if testing is not a regulatory requirement, Walmart has made it clear that they also require compliance with voluntary standards. Hence, it’s likely that they require certain electronic products – batteries and chargers in particular – to be compliant with applicable UL standards.
6. Avoid undue influence or any attempt to persuade lab test results
For obvious reasons, you cannot attempt to bribe or through other measures give a testing company incentives to “pass” a lab test. All test reports must show the true result.
7. Inform Walmart immediately if any of your products are non-compliant/unsafe
Potential safety hazards can be detected post-launch by consumers. Or, your team could potentially identify issues. If this happens, then Walmart requires that you inform them. This can then help both parties to remove products of the same model or batch.
Walmart also clarifies that you must inform them of product recalls.
Comply with relevant labeling laws and regulations and be honest with Walmart’s customers. Make sure all product labels and descriptions are clear, accurate, truthful, and not misleading.
Labeling requirements apply in one form or another to most consumer products. For example, country of origin labeling is mandatory for consumer products sold in the United States.
Product-specific labeling requirements also apply to certain products and age groups, such as CPSIA tracking labels.
Walmart can require that you submit products both for testing, and additional compliance documents – for the sake of verifying that your product is compliant. You can find more information in their US Product Quality and Compliance Manual.
Keep in mind that compliance checks are not unique to Walmart. As explained in this guide, Amazon performs frequent compliance checks – targeting everything from children’s products to electronics and jewelry.
Does Walmart help sellers ensure compliance?
No, Walmart does not provide assistance with testing, certification, and labeling. Neither does Walmart help you assess applicable regulations and safety standards. This falls on you as a Marketplace seller or supplier.