4 Reasons that can get your Walmart Account Suspended
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As bad news as it is, it is not impossible to recover your account from this event. Although the process is a demanding one and requires dedication from the seller, it is a necessary one.
Among the largest marketplaces in the US, Walmart continues to be a hot interest for online sellers. Every month more than 130 million customers throng its store and e-commerce website, which makes it an enormous opportunity for online sellers to tap in.
It offers excellent assistance to sellers in the form of support, content, advertising, and analytics for products.
However, as expected from any World-class online Marketplace, serving and maintaining quality is the number one priority for Walmart. For sellers to maintain such standards, it is crucial to follow the rules pushed by Walmart reverently.
When a seller fails to follow these strict rules, Walmart suspends that seller.
Sometimes, in the case of violation, Walmart puts down the listing rather than suspending the account. It depends upon the seller’s overall Score Card and the degree of the breach.
Thus to successfully sell at Walmart Marketplace, the key points are:
- Reasons for Walmart Account Suspension.
- Walmart Performance Standards
- Reasons for product listing removal.
- Walmart Marketplace Seller Appeals to reinstate the suspended account.
What are the reasons for the Walmart account Suspension?
The reasons which might have got a seller’s Walmart Account Suspended could be a failure on their part when it comes to:
- Satisfying Walmart Performance Standards for Seller.
- Conforming adequately to Marketplace Retailer Agreement.
- Fulfilling Operational Standards
- Abiding by Trust and Safety Standards.
To successfully sell at Walmart Marketplace, sellers need to keep up a plan of action that makes sure none of those mentioned above violations take place, ever. The following sections tackle each one of these in-depth.
Walmart Performance Standards
Around the second half of the year 2017, Walmart introduced new Performance standards for the sellers on Walmart.
To judge this performance, some factors such as total Cancellations on orders, Return orders, late Deliveries, Customer Complaints, etc.
What are the Walmart Performance Standards that sellers must follow?
- Order Defect Rate (ODR) should be less than 2% calculated over 90 days.
- The rate of Shipment in time should be higher than 99% under all circumstances.
- Walmart sellers must provide Valid Tracking Details within 24 hours of shipment more than 99% of the time.
Walmart also states certain situations to be out of control of any seller. Thus, it pardons them of any repercussions if the sellers can prove that their inability to meet the stated standards was due to one such reason.
Initially, when a violation occurs, Walmart delivers a Warning which and then proceeds to the process of Walmart Seller Account Suspension.
On receiving one such warning, if the sellers feel that they were not at fault and can supply justification, they need to provide the following details to Walmart:
- The reason behind the issue.
- Provide a valid proof that can justify the failure. Such as a natural disaster affecting the warehouses. That, in return, slowed the in-time delivery or failure of API due to specific reasons in which case you would have to supply case number.
- The period during which the said unbridled event occurred.
- Provide the total number of orders that were affected by the event.
Order Defect Rate
Orde Defects Rate should strictly remain below 2% as calculated over 90 days. Now the question arises, what is the order defects rate?
It is the ratio of total orders with any defect (At least one such order) to the total number of orders during the period when the defect in order occurred.
What are the Order Defects?
- Order Cancellation by Walmart Sellers
- Orders Returned due to defective or wrong order delivered by Walmart Seller
- Order Delivery out of the Expected Date of Delivery.
- Customer Complaints and reviews based on defected or below expectations order delivery.
Order Cancellation Defect
Order Cancellation defects occur when the sellers cancel orders on Walmart due to reasons such as low and insufficient inventory in comparison to the demands.
Or if sellers realize too late that they have priced the product incorrectly or a particular part of the description sends out the wrong expectation for the product.
These not only raise questions on the seller’s sincerity but also creates a negative experience for the customers.
Order Return Defect
The order returned post-delivery is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to a seller’s image.
Several reasons could lead to this defect, such as defective or damaged or weak quality orders received by the customer. Customers can demand refunds for missing parts of the order wrong description, leading to a gap between the item delivered and the customer’s expectation.
This kind of defect directly falls under the abolition of Walmart Performance Standards, leading to the suspension.
It is not a secret that customers prefer their item to arrive at the soonest once they make payments.
Giving an expected time of delivery to customers and then failing to deliver within that time limit disappoints the customers to a great extent. Walmart’s Performance Standards expect sellers to deliver all items in an order in time about more than 75% of the time.
Now with the guaranteed Next Day and 2-Day Deliveries promised by Walmart, the requirement to reduce delivery defect has only increased more than ever.
Some reasons that could lead to this kind of episode involve late shipment in the first place. Or due to items being out of stock or some natural disaster affecting the shipping process or warehouses involved.
Under such circumstances, Walmart pardons the sellers and does not charge penalty.
If you fail your customers, they will complain. It is just as simple as that. It could be a case where the customers find any defect in the product. Or a gap between the expectation laid down by your listing and what you delivered.
Please note that Walmart will not inform the sellers personally about the complaints they receive against them. Claims, even after settlement, will still be counted as a defect.
Periods for ODR Calculation
For calculating ODR, it is crucial to understand the periods for which scores are calculated and reflected on the Walmart Seller Account Score Board:
- The calculation of scores for 90 days is done for the orders placed 120 to 30 days ago to escape the Return Window on the orders. Thus, it is reflected only for orders that are complete by all means.
- Although it is possible to calculate ODR for any amount of time, the reflection on the dashboard is for 14 days and 90 days period only.
The calculations vary, and Walmart bases it upon the following considerations.
- One order can have more than one issue, but Walmart considers them as one order only in the ODR calculation.
- ODR for Walmart Sellers with 50 or more orders over three months is calculated for 120 days.
- For Walmart Sellers with lesser than 50 orders in three months, ODT is calculated for 12 months.
- ODR for lesser than 120 days is calculated and reflected only for new sellers on Walmart who have very few orders on their Walmart Seller Account Dashboard.
- To check your performance while selling at Walmart, check the 14 Days ODR.
- ODRs for 14 days and 90 days are reflected on the Walmart Seller account every 1st and 15th day of every month.
- ODR is not an average of order defects but an exact sum of it.
A rate of order defects higher than 2% for 120 days, will lead to the suspension of the seller’s Walmart Account.
It is crucial to ship the orders in the time promised and supply valid confirmation and tracking details to Walmart to avoid the delivery being late.
The two things that you can do to deliver the items within the expected date of delivery is to choose the right Shipping Services and ship the item in time.
Walmart Performance Standards state that sellers should ship the product in time over more than 99% of the time.
With the new promise of the next day and 2-day deliveries, missing the expected shipping date can hamper the commitment and reflect poorly upon Walmart itself, which is unacceptable.
The Expected Shipment Date is defined by two shipment related factors: Order Cutoff Time and Fulfillment Lag Time. Order Cutoff Time is the time limit that determines whether or not the seller needs to ship the order, the same day of placement. This means if the placement of order occurs before the cutoff time, the seller would have to ship it the same day; otherwise, they can ship it the next day.
Fulfillment Lag Time is the total time required for processing the item for the picking, packing, and shipping. The two factors together describe the entire time between order placement and Expected Shipment Date. Sellers should carefully define these in the Walmart Seller Account Profile Settings page, to avoid adverse effects and wrong ESD calculation.
It is effortless to adjust the time you get before shipping. Hence you can control any issue arising from here with little efforts.
Hence sellers can get their Walmart Account Suspended if they continue to repeat this practice for a long time.
Valid Tracking Rate
Supplying Valid Tracking information is not as simple as it sounds. It is not about just providing a valid tracking number and confirmation of shipment made.
Sellers are required to follow the Walmart Performace Standards concerning the Shipping Policy. They are required to use only one of the five carriers, which are:
a. Regular Shipping Methods
i. Free Value
b. Shipping Large and Bulky Items
Sellers are required to choose at least one of these as their shipping method. Providing tracking information requires a valid link using which customers can either directly track their order or a link to the website along with tracking number.
Sellers need to provide this information and follow the guidelines for every order they receive to maintain their performance and save their Walmart Account from being suspended.
Marketplace Retailer Agreement
During the Walmart Seller Account set up process, after the account creation step, all sellers are asked to accept an agreement. Which binds them legally to abide by the Standard Terms and Conditions for Walmart.
The Agreement emphasizes the Terms and Conditions, Policies and Guidelines, which are called Retailer Policies that sellers need to follow while selling under the Walmart Marketplace Program.
It is advisable to read the contract carefully. And in case you find a clause that your business might fail to adhere to later, consider including that in your business practice. Or don’t agree to the contract in the first place.
There is no escape to this condition and failing to comply with the terms in the contract will get your Walmart Account Suspended.
Walmart Operational Standards
To sell at Walmart Marketplace successfully, Sellers cannot fail at any time to maintain top-level operations. For example, on-time shipment and delivery, a refund within the period, and ensure the best Customer Services.
Also keeping the prices competitively low is a har limit for sellers on Walmart. Specific standards of operation include:
1. Customer Services
- Transparently supply all the information exactly as it is. Customers’ expectations should be real so that they don’t get disappointed after receiving the delivery.
- Work in complete cooperation with Walmart as a partner and be responsive to any inquiries from customers. Comply with the standards to the full capacity. Make sure you collaborate in any request or training offered by Walmart for the sellers.
- Demonstrate clearly that you uphold the standards by keeping proper documentation and promote these standards throughout your chain.
2. Respect Individual and Mankind
- Sellers on Walmart should not participate in the practice of forced or underage labor.
- To sell at Walmart Marketplace, sellers need to keep up the legitimate practice of fairly employing people based on talents and not a race, gender, age, or creed.
- Follow the existing laws about recompensing and working hours of all workers and keep up with the most recent amendments in those laws to protect the rights of the workers.
- Do not make deductions that do not align with the laws. Or retain wages or delay them or follow any such unfair, illegal practice which might trouble the workers and make their living situations unbearable.
- Do not discourage the formation of Trade unions or push workers to join one when they are not willing to. Forming, joining, or assisting a Trade Union is every worker’s right and respect it within the limitations of the law.
- Ensure and maintain a safe work environment at all times for all workers and push them to follow every safety measure laid down by the law. Establish a clean work environment with hygienic sanitation, water, and if the need arises, food and living facilities as well. At all times, maintain proper First Aid and easily accessible infirmary with a trained professional to assist if the need arises.
3. Excel as a seller at Walmart
Walmart expects sellers to maintain Performance Standards at all times and strive to excel the best they can. For which sellers are responsible for knowing the risks involved and address them to reduce any unforeseen and unfortunate event, comply with all the laws of fair trade and taxation and comply with Walmart policies.
These guidelines apply to all third-party sellers aiming to sell at Walmart Marketplace and failing to comply with each one of them may get their Walmart Account suspended as a consequence.
Trust and Safety Standards
Sellers on Walmart need to ensure that the goal of maintaining Customer’s trust by ensuring their safety. They should make efforts towards making sure a legal business practice is fulfilled and not challenged by any violation.
While they sell at Walmart marketplace, sellers are strictly asked to keep up with the trust and Safety Standards, failing to which will get their Walmart Account Suspended instantly.
These standards have the following clauses:
1. Regulatory Compliance
A breach of this standard occurs when you sell at Walmart marketplace, such a banned product on the grounds of risk to product and food safety regulations. This involves prescription drugs, gambling or surveillance products, baby equipment which have not been certified and tested, etc.
2. Offensive Product
Items that can be offensive to customers such as products that encourage discrimination, encourage violence, or display profanity.
3. Intellectual Property
Articles that might violate someone’s Intellectual rights on their creations or something that might break the Copy Right Policy on their intellectual property. Such as selling a painting without giving the right courtesy and taking permission and right to distribution.
Walmart’s Partner Performance Review Team
While violation of any of these can lead to Walmart Seller Account Suspension, the process is in itself an intricate one. Walmart reviews the Performance of sellers on Walmart through a team of experts.
Any time the ODR limit of 2% increases to a significant amount, Walmart Walmart can terminate or block seller accounts of the respective store temporarily. They will issue at least one warning before the suspension by Walmart. Only the sellers who have spent at least three months on Walmart will be susceptible to suspension.
Walmart gives plenty of opportunities for sellers to improve their ODR before taking action against them.
The team bases observation on past 90-day ODR and for sellers 50 or more transactions over 120 days it judges them for the recent three months. Also, once the limit crossed for a particular seller, Walmart will check the changes in the latest 30 days ODR to see if there are improvements or not.
The Process of Walmart Seller Account Termination
If after everything, the sellers still cross the ODR limit, Walmart will proceed to suspend to privileges of the seller to sell at Walmart Marketplace. Although it is a good thing that Walmart follows a very fair process. It provides the reason for the suspension. It also provides an additional requirement or advice to change the issue in the future.
Walmart can also take additional actions such as terminate all open orders for your account, but they will inform you about it just as well. Sellers will receive a notice of the suspension with the most recent date on which they can appeal to Walmart for the reestablishment of their account.
Depending upon the type of violation that led to the suspension, they provide the time for which they will test your performance as well.
1. Violation of Performance or Operational Standards
Sellers will receive warning once or twice, before the suspension. If the ODR remains unimproved, suspension of sellers’ Walmart Account will take place, and they will have to go through the Appeals Process.
2. Violation of Marketplace Agreement
In case the breach of the marketplace agreement causes the suspension, sellers will be informed about the specific clause that was offended and exactly how. The sellers can reinstate their selling privileges by creating an action plan that promises to comply with the said clause.
3. Violation of Trust and Safety
If you violate the trust and safety of the community, you will receive a notice from Walmart, and depending upon the degree of a breach, the team will take action.
Whereas, a Termination of Walmart Seller account, Walmart reserves the right to give no explanations, and you would not be eligible for any appeals.
Why does Walmart remove some product listings automatically?
Walmart reserves the right to de-list some of your products. They do it if they find it in violation of some standards with or without giving the reasons. When it happens to the sellers on Walmart, they sometimes find it bewildering. Some of these reasons can be:
- Selling of items that align with the list of prohibited items or product categories’ list of Walmart and hence break the trust and safety standards of Walmart.
- Pricing of listings should remain competitively low in comparison to the same item listed under Amazon, eBay or other marketplaces under your store name.
- Walmart considers low performing items to be the ones that do not drive enough sales. If they are not performing well or are not much popular among customers, Walmart removes the listing.
- It is highly unprofessional to let your stock go all out repeatedly, and repetition of this will prompt Walmart to stop displaying your listing.
- Walmart removes an item with too many negative ratings from customers. Reason for which is clear. If your product is not up to the standards or are creating a false expectation causing frustration in customers, they will react.
How to get a removed listing back on display?
If Walmart finds a violation in any of your listings and decides to delist it, sellers on Walmart will receive a message along with reasons and the type of violation. If something like that happens, sellers can recover the listing by immediately removing the cause of the breach or any other issue behind delisting, and re-upload it to Walmart.
It is advisable to create great listings that fall in line with the Walmart Performance Standards and ensure that the listings are safe in the first place.
Walmart’s Appeal Process
The following process can help you out in reestablishing your privileges to sell at Walmart marketplace. These are applicable only if the cause behind your Walmart account suspension, is one of the reasons other than Trust and Safety Standards,
- Analyze Seller Performance Standards
- Develop a new Strategy for Business
- Send this strategy to Walmart
- Do everything possible not to keep up but excel beyond that in terms of Seller Performance.
Step 1: Revisit the Walmart Performance Standards and Walmart Retailer Agreement Policies with your Score Card in focus.
Analyze the reasons for which your Walmart Account was suspended and reexamine your scorecard as well as ODR. First, establish the specific course of actions and factors that led to a violation of Walmart Performance Standard or Walmart Retailer Agreement Policies.
If necessary, consult an expert and figure out what caused the defects that contributed to high ODR. Make a list of different types of Order Defects and track the reasons behind them. List them all.
In case it was a violation of the Retailer Agreement, quickly go-ahead and figure Why, How and What caused this violation.
Step 2: Develop a new optimized strategy: Business Plan of Action.
Based on your observations in step one, device a strategy. Make it one that would ensure that while you sell at Walmart marketplace in the future, your performance will be optimum. It should also ensure that your trade practices remain in line with Walmart Performance Standards and Walmart Retailer Agreement.
Make sure that your action plan reflects your understanding of the issue, its cause, and its root. Do it such that Walmart can conclude that you understand how and why the violation occurred, and you seek a chance to do a better job.
For a violation of Walmart Performance Standards, attempt to focus on the type of standard. For example, if you failed the in-time delivery, then what will you do to maintain all deliveries on time. Will you be changing the shipping service you have been using so far or will you reevaluate the ESD to avoid any false expectations? Clearly, state it with the justification of why this is the best solution.
If your Customer Service was below acceptable standards, draft a relevant strategy. Focus on how you will improve how you will be assisting the customers in the shortest time possible.
In case the suspension was due to lack of keeping up with the demand and maintaining the inventory, then put up a well-formulated action plan for that. It should ensure that the supply is maintained at all times to satisfy the market better.
Make sure you consult an expert if the need arises. Share your action plan with them to see if it is an excellent low-risk one that will resolve the issue.
Step 3: Submit the Plan of Action for Walmart to Review it.
Follow the steps below to submit your plan of Action on Walmart Seller Center:
a. Log in to Seller Center
b. Go to Support> Partner Account/ Profile> Appealing Account Suspension
c. Attach your Business Plan of Action
d. Submit your case.
Merely submission of the Plan does not reinstate your rights to sell at Walmart marketplace. After submission of your case, Walmart will contact you within two days with their decision. Neither all suspended sellers are eligible to appeal for reinstatement, for example in case of violation of Trust and Safety Standards, you may or may not be eligible for the appeal. Whether or not you can appeal, the mail notifying the suspension also notifies sellers of this.
Also, in the case of Trust and Safety violation, the method of appeal is different. The mail describes the process as well if the seller is eligible for appeal.
Step 4: Improve your performance after the restoration of Walmart Seller Account
Once Walmart revokes the suspension on the account, sellers are expected to strictly follow the Business Plan of Action they submitted in the appeal for restoration. Also, they are required to strictly improve their ODRs to avoid future violations and comply with the Standards and Retailer Agreements. If the performance remains unchanged, sellers might face a suspension the second time or termination eventually.
How to avoid Suspension or worse, Termination?
- Sellers must comply with all the Walmart Performance and Operational Standards. They should follow the rules and guidelines laid down by Walmart Retailer Agreement.
- Supply correct Customer Service contact information at Partner Profile settings. Make sure both email address and a phone number are available and authentic. Customers should be able to contact you when the need arises.
- Sellers should supply the details about their correct working hours so that customers can contact them only during that time and have a higher chance of successfully communicating with sellers.
- Update item descriptions from time to time, keep it accurate and promise only what the product is instead of exaggerating it.
- Pay attention to packaging to make sure the item is delivered safely to the customers.
- All sellers should ensure that they meet ESD and EDD for every order to garner optimum customer satisfaction.
- Sellers should continuously monitor their scorecard and keep taking measures to keep up the best performance.
- Sellers should ensure top-class Customer Services all the time. They must provide an in-time response to all emails and questions, issue refunds within 48 hours. They should resolve issues as fast as possible and always maintain a polite tone while interacting with the customers.
After the restoration of your account, you can focus on creating a strategy to increase your sales and hence, performance on Walmart.
By and Large
Thus Walmart experts intensely monitor the performance of a seller on Walmart. Based on certain factors, Walmart creates a Scorecard for its sellers which reflects the performance of the respective sellers.
Walmart is committed to ensure the privacy and safety of all its customers and sellers and maintain fair trade practices. Therefore, in case of any violation of the standards and guidelines laid down by Walmart, Sellers are warned off. If this continues, Walmart reserves the right to suspend or terminate the seller’s right to sell at Walmart marketplace.
It is the responsibility of the sellers to comply with Performance and Operational standards as well as the Retailer Agreement. Sellers should endeavor to maintain a fair and safe for not just the customers but fellow sellers just as well. If the selling process on Walmart is getting too much or you want to start selling today, let Automated listings and marketplace integrations solve your problems.
For a better understanding of how to successfully sell at Walmart Marketplace and avoid getting Walmart Account suspended, checkout:
1. How to advertise on Walmart[Sponsored Ads]: Get Targeted Traffic
2. ‘Why and How’ of selling on Walmart, Get Relevant and Targeted audiences.
3. 6 Simple Steps to Become a Seller on Walmart in 2019
4. How to Start Selling on Walmart: Onboarding Checklist