Taking aim at Amazon’s Prime program, Walmart has begun offering free shipping on more than 2 million of the discounter’s most frequently purchased items, with no membership fee required.
The program, named simply 2-Day Shipping, covers such eligible items as top-selling tech, toys, beauty products, food, and household supplies, although orders must be over $35 to qualify.
The initiative went into effect at 8 a.m. EST this morning and replaces ShippingPass, Walmart’s previous two-day shipping program, which carried an annual $49 charge.
By comparison, membership in Amazon Prime costs $99, but also includes a host of other benefits like access to movies, music and e-books at no additional charge.
Walmart said its new 2-Day Shipping offer covers more items than ShippingPass, and that subscribers to the defunct program will receive full refunds within 30 days.
“In today’s world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it,” said Marc Lore, president/CEO of Walmart e-commerce U.S., and co-founder and former CEO of e-tail startup Jet.com, which was acquired by Walmart last summer. “Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth.”
The No. 1 discount chain has also lowered the minimum order amount for free three- to five-day shipping from $50 to $35, and continues to dramatically expand its dot-com assortment in its bid to blunt Amazon’s online inroads.