As an experienced Amazon seller now expanding to Walmart Marketplace, I‘ve learned that managing returns is a key part of running a successful business. When selling on Walmart‘s platform, it‘s important to understand their return policies to minimize losses and keep customers happy.
The bottom line upfront: Walmart allows 30 day returns on most Marketplace items, and 14 days for electronics and luxury goods. Returns can be initiated online or taken to Walmart stores. Some items cannot be returned due to hazards. Learn more details below from a seller‘s perspective.
After selling on Amazon for over 5 years, I‘ve dealt with my fair share of returns! While each ecommerce site has its own system, this guide will break down Walmart Marketplace returns using my insider knowledge. I‘ll explain how the process works, restrictions to watch for, and tips to manage returns smoothly as a seller.
A Look at Returns in the Walmart Marketplace
To set the stage, let‘s look at some statistics on the Walmart Marketplace:
Over 43,000 sellers offered 2 billion items on Walmart Marketplace in 2021 .
Walmart has rapidly grown their marketplace with over 140 million SKUs now available .
Top-selling categories include home goods, electronics, toys, appliances and more.
Marketplace makes up an estimated 7% of Walmart’s total online sales .
With numbers like these, it‘s no surprise that returns are a big part of operating on the Marketplace for sellers like us. We have to take returns into account when running our Walmart business.
Now let‘s dive into the details every seller needs to know.
Walmart Marketplace Return Policy Basics
Walmart allows returns on most items sold through their Marketplace:
30 day returns on most products, with exceptions noted.
14 day returns on electronics, valuables, luxury items.
Return window counts from delivery date, not purchase date.
This provides buyers sufficient time to inspect items while keeping return periods reasonable.
As a seller, I recommend clearly displaying your individual return policy and restocking fees on each product page. Buyers look for this info, so transparency is key.
How Walmart Marketplace Returns Work
Customers can initiate returns by mail or at Walmart stores:
By mail: Customer prints prepaid label, ships item, seller refunds upon receiving.
In-store: Customer takes item and receipt to Walmart for shipment back to seller.
I recommend allowing in-store returns for more convenience and higher customer satisfaction.
Unlike Amazon, return shipping costs are not prepaid by Walmart for Marketplace sellers. Customers may pay unless you offer free returns.
I suggest building shipping costs into your pricing strategy. Free returns can increase conversion rates and prevent extra costs for customers.
Items Restricted or Ineligible for Return
As a seller, it‘s important to know what items cannot be returned to the Walmart Marketplace:
Items restricted by DOT hazardous materials regulations cannot be returned to Walmart stores, including :
- Compressed gases
- Flammable liquids
- Most electronics containing hazards
I don‘t recommend selling these types of restricted products on Walmart Marketplace at all to avoid issues.
Large, heavy items like :
- Air conditioners
Cannot be returned in-store due to size and safety issues. Customers would need to arrange shipping directly with you.
I suggest disclosing the special return requirements for heavy equipment clearly on your listings. Communicate with buyers to facilitate returns.
Additionally, the following must be unopened for return :
- Media including video games, software
- Printer ink and toner
- Prescription eyewear
- Hearing aids
- Baby formula
As a seller, anticipate a higher rate of returns on these types of products. Set restocking fees accordingly.
Managing Returns From Canada
Walmart Marketplace is available in Canada, so as a seller you may receive international returns:
Most items can be returned in-store within 30 days.
Electronics have a 14 day return window.
Exceptions for hazardous goods, oversized items, etc. still apply.
Additional restrictions on media, healthcare items in Canada .
I recommend familiarizing yourself with the nuances of Walmart‘s Canadian return policies. Cross-border returns add complexity but are worth supporting.
Becoming a "Pro Seller" on Walmart Marketplace
Walmart designates top-performing sellers as "Pro Sellers" based on criteria like :
- High seller feedback and ratings
- Low return and cancellation rates
- Quick shipping and responses
As a new seller, minimizing returns and providing great service is key to achieving Pro Seller status quickly.
Handling Customer Service as a Seller
Managing returns goes hand-in-hand with top-notch customer service. As a seller, you must:
- Respond to buyer messages within 48 hours
- Resolve return requests promptly
- Offer refunds or replacements as warranted
I recommend communicating return instructions clearly to buyers. Being responsive builds your reputation with customers.
Getting Walmart Involved with Problem Returns
In rare cases, a buyer may be unreasonably demanding or you may fail to reach an agreement. Walmart can step in to mediate disputes if needed.
To get Walmart involved, have the buyer contact Walmart Customer Care or you can open a case by :
- Logging into Seller Center
- Navigating to “Manage Returns” section
- Selecting “Get help with a return”
- Entering order details and issue summary
I suggest reserving this only for truly problematic returns where the buyer refuses reasonable resolutions. Walmart may side with the customer if you cannot justify your position.
Best Practices For Marketplace Sellers to Reduce Returns
Based on my experience selling on Amazon, here are my top tips for Walmart Marketplace sellers to minimize returns:
Add detailed product descriptions – Thoroughly describe items, include dimensions, materials, etc. This sets appropriate expectations.
Use high-quality images – Show the product from all angles and provide zoom-ability. Reduces unwarranted “not as described” returns.
Back up claims – Substantiate any claims about benefits, uses, etc. to avoid returns claiming misleading marketing.
Highlight imperfections – Disclose any flaws, damage, etc. Returns are more likely if imperfections surprise customers.
Test electronics thoroughly – Fully test all functions on electronics, take photos of working items. Prevents "defective" returns.
Pack items very securely – Use generous, high-quality packing materials. Returns for damage costs you money.
Ship quickly – Get items out the door ASAP. The longer the wait, the more likely an impatient customer returns the order.
Provide great service – Answer buyer questions promptly, resolve issues fairly. Good customer service improves satisfaction.
Following best practices like these reduces completely preventable returns as a seller. But when a return does occur…
How to Handle Walmart Returns Professionally
Despite your best efforts, returns will happen. Here are my tips for processing Walmart Marketplace returns smoothly:
Act quickly – The sooner you can process the return and issue a refund, the better for your business.
Communicate clearly – Keep the buyer informed on the status of their return and when they can expect a resolution.
Inspect carefully – Check returned items for damage not present when originally shipped. This may invalidate the return.
Establish fair restocking fees – Charge restocking fees to offset your costs on unwarranted returns. But don‘t overdo it.
Block abusers – If a buyer shows a pattern of excessive returns, consider blocking them from future purchases. Protect your bottom line.
Learn from mistakes – Look for trends in your returns data. Identify problem products or business practices that need improvement.
Handling returns professionally maintains your reputation and minimizes losses. Every return is a chance to improve.
Walmart vs. Amazon: Key Differences Sellers Should Know
As an experienced Amazon Marketplace seller, I wanted to highlight some key differences selling on Walmart that impact returns:
No prepaid return shipping – Walmart does not cover seller return shipping costs like Amazon FBA. You pay return shipping.
Stricter electronics returns – Walmart enforces 14 day electronics returns vs. 30 days on Amazon. Tighter window.
In-store returns – Walmart accepts in-store returns from Marketplace. Amazon return process is fully by mail.
Seller input on disputes – Walmart has sellers submit their side in disputes. Amazon tends to side with buyers by default.
I recommend being aware of nuances like these when switching marketplaces. Policies greatly affect how sellers manage returns.
Final Thoughts on Walmart Marketplace Returns
Handling returns is a necessary reality of ecommerce. As a seller expanding to Walmart Marketplace, expect a steady volume of returns from day one.
Implement the best practices outlined here before you make your first Walmart sale to minimize losses:
- Develop clear return policies and display them prominently
- Describe products thoroughly and accurately
- Pack securely and ship items quickly
- Provide responsive, helpful customer service
- Process returns promptly and fairly
Following Walmart‘s return guidelines while applying proven strategies lets sellers turn returns into opportunities for growth and improvement.
With this comprehensive guide, you now have insights into managing Walmart Marketplace returns successfully based on years of selling experience. Let me know if you have any other questions!