Immigration is a hot topic these days, and not just in politics. Online retailers are also staking out competing positions, with Walmart opening its platform to many Chinese sellers recently jettisoned from Amazon.
Walmart announced in March that it would be expanding its borders, so to speak, and as the holiday shopping season approaches, Walmart has added 5,000 sellers from China, according to a Marketplace Pulse report.
“Chinese sellers have very obvious advantages in the global cross-border e-commerce field,” said Michelle Mi, Vice President of Global Sourcing at Walmart, in a conference hosted in Shenzhen on March 25th, the site reported.
Walmart's about-face came earlier this year, just around the time Amazon was booting thousands of sellers off its site for, among other things, allegedly "paying for play" and using other artificial techniques to include the reviews shown on the platform.
Walmart fulfilling orders for Chinese sellers
Besides adding the new sellers, Walmart is also offering them what's called fulfillment service – warehousing and shipping their products directly from Walmart.
This saves time since products shipped domestically arrive much faster than those sent internationally and also makes it a bit harder for consumers to track down the seller's exact identity should they wish to do so.
Amazon has over the last few years taken criticism from consumers and regulators who alleged the site contained a few too many counterfeit and substandard products.
Marketplace Pulse said many names familiar to Amazon buyers are now to be found on Walmart instead. "The same Mpow headphones that used to come in two days from Amazon are now available on Walmart with two-day shipping by Walmart," it said.
Whether this is a good development for consumers remains to be seen. China produces cut-rate versions of just about everything and this can be a good thing for consumers looking for a bargain. It can annoy those who would perfer a more rarified atmosphere.
Having a wide variety of products leaves the decision up to consumers, as long as reviews are honest and product descriptions are accurate. While you might not mind paying $379 for a pair of Bose headphones, parents shopping for their kids might be perfectly happy with a pair of $9.99 MPOWs.
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