This week, Walmart announced that it will start offering free, next-day delivery on select online orders over $35 without any added membership fee. This announcement comes after a similar one from rival retailer Amazon just last month. Amazon, the lucrative e-commerce giant, announced that it is investing $800 million in its warehouses and delivery infrastructure with the goal of cutting the speed of its Prime deliveries from two days to just one. For now, Walmart’s quicker deliveries will only be available in select markets.
Walmart plans to roll out its next-day service in the months to come with the lofty overall goal of reaching 75 percent of the U.S. population, “including 40 of the top 50 U.S. metros” by the end of the year, reports TechCrunch.
Most immediately, the service is available in Phoenix and Las Vegas as of Tuesday and will become available to customers in Southern California in the days to follow.
“Today, Amazon Prime covers more than 100 million items, which are available for two-day shipping to Prime’s more than 100 million subscribers. To make an inventory of that size available for one-day shipping is a massive investment on Amazon’s part. Walmart, on the other hand, is starting smaller. Its next-day delivery will be available as a standalone, curated shopping experience where customers can browse up to 220,000 of the most frequently purchased items,” according to TechCrunch.
This relatively limited inventory more closely rivals what Target is currently doing than what Amazon is doing. Target’s Restock offering, however, is more focused on day-to-day needs customers and only offers around 35,000 items as of now.
This is not the first time Walmart has stepped up its shipping efforts in response to moves made by Amazon.
Walmart “had been trialing such a sped-up shipping system for years — starting with a test of its answer to Prime back in 2015. Dubbed ShippingPass at the time, the program initially began with 1 million items and three-day delivery, then was lowered to two days while the number of eligible items doubled. This past October, Walmart expanded two-day shipping to its Marketplace sellers, as well,” reports TechCrunch.
And now it’s focused on one-day delivery.
“We can offer fast, convenient shipping options because we’ve built a network of fulfillment assets that are strategically located across the U.S. We’ve also done extensive work to ensure we have the right products in the right fulfillment centers based on where customers are located and what they’re ordering,” said president and CEO of Walmart E-Commerce, Marc Lore.
Jeff Bezos Personally Dumps a Truckload of Dirt on FedEx’s Future, TechCrunch, 5/14/19