Walmart’s Free Shipping Escalates Battle With Amazon Prime – Forbes

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Walmart just fired another shot in the war with Amazon by killing off its Prime-like subscription service to offer free two-day shipping on all orders.

Walmart launched a program competitive to Amazon Prime last year called ShippingPass for a $50 monthly fee. But it didn’t have many of the same perks as Amazon Prime such as streaming media and e-book lending.

As of this morning, the minimum purchase required for free shipping to homes is $35, down from $50. Some 2 million items are eligible.

Walmart offers just a fraction of Amazon’s 40 million products plus extras such as streaming media and original content. But this is just a start, according to Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce.

“In today’s world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it,” said Lore in a statement. “Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth.”

“We are moving at the speed of a startup,” he said.

Lore knows a bit about startups. He founded Diapers.com, later purchased by Amazon and Jet.com, which Walmart purchased for more than $3 billion in August.

Clearly it will take more than two-day shipping to create a compelling alternative to Amazon Prime . Amazon hasn’t released membership numbers but claims Prime’s members number in the “tens of millions.”

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