Pay $99 for an Amazon Prime membership and Amazon will give you free 2-day shipping on millions of items… as well as access to a library of digital movies, TV shows, music, and eBooks.

Few companies have the resources to offer all of those things for one monthly price. But Walmart decided to try the pay-for-free-shipping thing. Less than two years ago the nation’s largest retailer started offering customers the option of paying $50 per year to get free 3-day shipping on many items.

Now the company is revamping that program by killing the annual fee and moving to free 2-day shipping for everyone. Sort of.

Free shipping is only available on orders of $35 or more, and Walmart’s selection of eligible items is smaller than Amazon’s.

Still, Walmart says more than 2 million items qualify for free shipping, including “items customers shop the most” from categories including electronics, toys, beauty products, baby products, food, and pet care products.

There’s no word on whether Walmart has any plans to roll out subscription music or video offerings, but the company does own movie streaming service Vudu.

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17 replies on “Walmart’s Amazon Prime competitor ditches the annual fee for free 2-day shipping”

  1. Walmart sells cheap Chinese imports so the onlyl thing they could possibly ever compete on is

    price.

  2. I’d be interested in giving them a shot if they do this in Canada. It doesn’t take much to be better than Amazon Canada. Their 2-day shipping is rarely 2-days, and they attract far too many Chinese sellers with 60+ day shipping quotes. Its getting really hard to find common products on Amazon.ca that don’t ship out of China with 2-month shipping quotes.

  3. The shipping cost is factored into the rest of their cost structure. If they claim shipping is free, that means the money is coming from somewhere else. The most interesting data point is an apples-to-apples comparison between Walmart and Amazon representing the entire price to buy the product and have it delivered to your door.

  4. I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon. Have never been a full time ongoing Prime subscriber because I didn’t like their model of forcing me to essentially buy their hardware to take decent advantage of it.
    With Shield TV getting an official Amazon app just very recently I’ll be more receptive of the idea.
    That said I have no particular loyalty to Amazon and buy a lot online from other stores too.
    If Walmart has what I want at the price I want I’ll be happy to buy from them as long as the service is decent.
    Even if I’ve already paid for Prime it doesn’t cost me anything to buy from Walmart if their price is cheaper and I’m getting two day shipping either way.
    In fact for larger items Walmart might be preferable as a return would be a lot easier. They have a significant advantage over Amazon there.

    1. Huh? How are returns easier with Walmart when with Amazon all you have to do is take the item to a UPS Store? There are a lot more UPS Stores than Walmart, and you don’t have to hassle with going to a store.

      1. It is even easier for me. I just put the item back in the box, print out the return label Amazon supplies when I request the return, place it outside my door. The USPS person picks it up when they drop off my mail.

        1. My mailbox is across the street from the house so I wouldn’t want to just leave a package by it if it didn’t fit in the mailbox itself. Even then I probably wouldn’t.
          So I’d need to hit a post office or the UPS store suggested above.
          For me it would be easier to just drop it back at Walmart and not hassle with shipping labels or careful repackaging.

      2. Well to be fair you just said you take them to a store and then proceeded to say you don’t have to take them to a store.
        I’m never returned anything via a UPS store other than a monitor under warranty. Packaging it up for shipment was a hassle. Will UPS take care of the more careful packaging for you? I didn’t ask when I did it. Maybe they do that for you.
        That was precisely what I was thinking about, the hassle of how carefully you need to repackage everything. Also dealing with shipping labels. With Walmart you can just get it reasonably back in the box in some way and that’s it.

        1. I said UPS Store and mentioned that there are more of them than Walmarts. UPS Stores are not UPS. There are more UPS Stores than true UPS locations. And yes they will handle packaging, for an extra fee, but if you’re returning something you just received that shouldn’t be a big deal to do yourself. All you should need is packing tape to put everything back the way it came to you.

          1. So you admit they are stores. ๐Ÿ˜‰
            And that I need to add packaging tape or incur packaging fees.
            So it’s either more convenient or cheaper to just return to Walmart.
            LOL.
            To be fair the service counter line at Walmart has decent odds of being a slog.
            Personally though I like the idea of my responsibility being finished at the counter and my return complete. Also I can treat myself to a candy bar for the hassle.
            Seriously though, which is more convenient surely comes down to where you live and how your life is arranged. Though I’ve always wondered how people who live in cities and do not have door men or a workplace happy for you to receive mail there buy from Amazon.
            The last time I lived in that kind of environment was well before the age of e-commerce.

  5. Amazon’s warehouse workers earn an average of $12.50/hour, according to rating site Glassdoor.com. That is FAR better than their counterparts in brick-and-mortar, and Amazon uses its labor much more efficiently than its competitors.

    So here is MY DEAL. If Wal-Mart raises it minimums wage above $13.00 I will consider using them. But until then Wal-Mart and its owners have done more harm to Americans than good.

    1. Amazon employees don’t have counterparts in brick&morter. They have counterparts in warehouse and distribution. I don’t know what their average wages are.
      And while I take your point about the state of labor in general the idea that Walmart is to blame for it is hard to make a case for. I don’t think all the employees at smaller chains and independent retailers they drove out of business were making massive wages either.
      Meanwhile Amazon has driven just as many small shops out of business. And that’s not even counting all the book stores which Barnes and Noble drove out of business only to be along the roadway of driven out of business by Amazon themselves.
      In short I don’t think you can lay the sorry state of US Labor at the feet of just one corporation. I think it goes a lot more directly to government policy.

    2. I have a better deal for Wal-Mart. If they reduce their minimum wage to the minimum allowed by law and pass the cost savings to the consumer, millions of us consumers promise to spend a lot more money at their stores.

  6. I’m a big Amazon fan. I say this as someone who hates fanatics. I also say this because Amazon’s entire system works for the consumer and more companies should take note instead of automating and closing the human element. Pricing – shipping – reviews – voice/email followups – security. They do a competent job all things considered.

    I should give WalmartOnline a try. I quite like them as a brick and mortar in comparison to others. If I find that all they do is copy someone else’s online business model, then it’ll say to me that they really are never going to work hard enough for the users. Too many times I’ve seen a company copy/paste a business model and when they reach the top they stagnate and the arrogance begins to show.

    1. love me some amazon. i live out in the boonies, so I order a ton of stuff online, as does my wife who owns a vet clinic. we have three young kids and we watch lots of Prime Video, just subscribed to Amazon Music for $59 for a year, have an Echo and three Dots in the house and a handful of amazon fire tv and sticks. we are all in.
      anyway, recently made a $8 purchase with a $4 promo code. the item never shipped, it was a third party seller. I chatted with amazon and they refunded my money and gave me a $4 promo code to use as I wish. I later tried to order something but that code didn’t show up. i chatted again asking about that promised code. They said “Sorry, doesn’t look like it was applied to your account. Here, have a $10 promo code for your troubles”
      that’s good customer service.

  7. This is actually a smart move and significant improvement for all those folks (like myself) who do not subscribe to Prime. Amazon’s minimum has steadily moved up, and their non-Prime shipping times are often somewhat lengthy.

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