You may recall Walmart’s recent online offer of free two-day shipping.
The program, called simply "2-Day Shipping," applies to more than 2 million popular products and, in a direct challenge to Amazon’s Prime membership plan, requires no annual fee. (The only prerequisite is a minimum order amount of $35.)
To see if 2-Day Shipping would succeed in picking off Amazon customers, Field Agent, a mystery shopper and marketplace intelligence service based in Fayetteville, Ark., put the question to 1,015 consumers.
The respondents were all verified Amazon customers including 683 Prime members — of whom 397 were designated “very best customers” who spend three-quarters or more of their online dollars with the e-tailer.
The result? Forty-four percent of all respondents said they’re completely or very likely to start shopping more frequently at Walmart.com now that two-day shipping is free. The numbers were also high for Prime members (37 percent) and very best customers (31 percent).
But that’s not to say that Amazon shoppers are disloyal. Asked whether they would switch to Walmart.com as their primary online store, the overwhelming majority (62 percent) said either not very likely or not likely at all. As one would imagine, the numbers were even higher for the Prime and very best customer groups (see chart, below).
Field Agent acknowledged that what shoppers say and what they actually do are often two different things. That said, the firm concluded that the new shipping policy could, in fact, eat into Amazon sales, while significantly boosting revenue for Walmart.com.
“Yet for the vast majority of Amazon’s most stalwart customers,” it added, “free shipping by itself does not appear sufficient to shake their allegiance to the world’s largest online retailer.”