Amazon and Walmart are two of the biggest B2C marketplaces in the US, and have varying paid levers that can aid brands in their quest for a bigger share of shelf. Brands that distribute through these marketplaces need to be aware of the varying levels of sophistication and audience that they offer.

Amazon continues to be the more advanced and largest by merchandise value, but has become pay-to-play for brands looking to be successful first-party distributors. Brands need to establish a fast cadence of sales through a combination of placement sponsorships and headline search ads to drive conversion, creating a knock-on effect that benefits brands in the long run.

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Walmart, in second place, is still thought of as a more traditional big box retailer. In the last two years, the retail giant has bought Moosejaw and partnered with Lord & Taylor to generate more premium offerings in activewear and fashion, but it remains to be seen if such pivots will diversify the retailer’s customer base.

Like Amazon, Walmart’s advertising offering has grown in recent years, allowing brands to pay for native ads within the shopping experience, along with traditional paid search and product listing ads. Brands looking to distribute need to be aware that certain categories such as hair care and home care are fiercely competitive — 10% of brands have sponsored listings, while others such as activewear are less competitive at 3%. Brands looking to gain the upper hand need to start diversifying their paid investments from simply product ads, especially within more competitive categories.

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