Walmart has long been trying to challenge Amazon's domination and it may now have just what it takes to get the ball rolling.
Starting today, Walmart is offering free two-day shipping on more than 2 million items and it's waiving the membership fee. The items can be shipped either to one's home or store.
Walmart Free Two-Day Shipping
For the free two-day shipping to home, Walmart has also dropped the minimum purchase required from $50 to $35. For free shipping to stores, there's still no price threshold (not including freight and marketplace).
"I couldn't be more excited," says Walmart U.S. eCommerce president and CEO, Marc Lore. "Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth."
Eligible items include the most frequently bought products such as baby items, pet supplies, household products, cleaning items, beauty products, toys, grocery products that don't require refrigeration, electronics and more.
This marks Walmart's biggest move against Amazon since it acquired online retailer Jet.com in a massive $3.3 billion deal. The free two-day shipping offer without any membership fees finally gives Walmart something to really challenge Amazon, as rival service Amazon Prime requires membership that costs $99 per year. On the other hand, Amazon Prime offers a slew of other perks in addition to free two-day shipping.
Nevertheless, Walmart's move to offer free shipping with no membership fee marks an important step forward for the retailer and gives it a better fighting chance against Amazon.
"In today's world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it," adds Lore.
ShippingPass No More, But Members Get A Refund
With the launch of this new free two-day shipping program, Walmart discontinues the ShippingPass program launched in the summer of 2016. ShippingPass required a $49 membership fee for free two-day shipping, and Walmart will now be refunding the fee to members.
According to Walmart, ShippingPass was just a way to test what it wanted to offer all along - free two-day shipping. Now that it got this down, there's no need for ShippingPass anymore.
In addition to free two-day shipping, Walmart is also offering same-day pickup in stores on many items, as this hasn't changed. Pickup is available at more than 4,600 Walmart stores nationwide, and the company is also offering Online Grocery Pickup at more than 600 locations, with more to come.
It's Just The Beginning
This may be notable progress, but Walmart still faces a tough uphill battle with Amazon, which accounts for half of the e-commerce industry growth and nearly a third of all online sales in the United States, by some estimates.
Still, Walmart says that it's just getting started and free two-day shipping is just the first step on its new consumer-centric roadmap.
"This is just the beginning. Now that we've checked the two-day shipping box, my focus is on leveraging our unique assets and network to serve customers in innovative ways that only Walmart can. Stay tuned ... You won't be waiting long," Lore further touts in an announcement on the Walmart blog.