New program requires no membership fee
The new free shipping option, which is seen as sharpening its competition with Amazon.com Inc.’s popular Amazon Prime service, replaces Walmart’s previous Shipping Pass two-day shipping program, which required shoppers to pay an annual membership fee of $49. Walmart has also lowered the minimum purchase required for free shipping to a consumer’s home to $35, from $50. There is no price threshold for getting items shipped to a Walmart store.
Amazon Prime has an annual membership fee of $99. It includes free two-day shipping on many items, along with such additional perks as free music and video streaming.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Walmart U.S. eCommerce president and CEO Marc Lore said in a statement. “We are moving at the speed of a startup. Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth.”
Walmart said its free two-day shipping will be available on more than 2 million items, including household essentials such as baby necessities, pet products, food, like cereal and peanut butter, cleaning supplies and beauty favorites, as well as top electronics and toys. The company said it will fully refund the membership fees paid by its existing Shipping Pass customers.
In addition to offering two-day shipping to stores, Walmart continues to offer same-day store Pickup on many items. Pickup is currently available at more than 4,600 stores. The company also continues to offer Online Grocery Pickup at more than 600 locations across the country, with plans to expand the service in the coming year.
“In today’s world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it,” Lore said.
Lore was the founder and CEO of the online retailer Jet.com, which Walmart acquired last year.