SAN BRUNO, CA: January 31, 2017. In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime, Walmart has introduced free two-day delivery on over two million items without a membership fee. The retail giant has also lowered the minimum purchase ceiling from US$50 to US$35.
Walmart's two-day shipping is available on household essentials, beauty products as well as electronics and toys.
"I couldn't be more excited. We are moving at the speed of a startup," commented Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, and former CEO of eCommerce company Jet.com.
Wal-Mart acquired Jet in August 2016 for US$3.3 billion in cash and Wal-Mart stock. The company was co-founded in 2014 by Lore, CTO Mike Hanrahan and COO Nate Faust after they'd sold their previous company Quidsi to Amazon for US$545 million in 2010.
"Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth," he said.
In addition to offering two-day shipping to stores, Walmart said it continues to offer same-day merchandise store pickup at more than 4,600 stores and grocery pickup at 600 sites.
"In today's world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it," explained Lore.
The people at Jet.com (right) combine a rewards-based eCommerce platform with Walmart's retail expertise, purchasing scale, sourcing capabilities, distribution footprint and digital assets to reduce supply-chain and logistics costs.
In a related development UK eCommerce grocer Ocado could be a target for Amazon following the release of its latest 12-month results showing sales up 13.6 percent and revenue up 14.8 percent to £1.27 billion.
David Jinks, head of Consumer Research at UK parcel consolidator Fastlane International commented: 'Rumors still persist that Amazon or another retailer might actually take over Ocado lock, stock and barrel-aged feta cheese.
"Ocado doesn't have the economies of scale that traditional brick and mortar supermarket chains have and always seems a likely candidate for acquisition because of its net debts, which rose to nearly £165 million," he added.