Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced today that it's ending its ShippingPass delivery subscription pilot and offering free two-day shipping on more than 2 million items without a membership program. The retailer is also lowering the minimum purchase required for free shipping to $35 from $50. Items shipped to stores have no minimum price threshold. Wal-Mart also offers same-day store pickup on many items, and online grocery pickup in more than 600 locations, with additional locations planned for 2017. To execute on the two-day promise, Wal-Mart said it will be relying on its five fulfillment center campuses, located in places like Dallas and Atlanta, as well as a network of other warehouses and distribution centers.
Total Retail's Take: Wal-Mart is once again upping the ante in its quest to compete with Amazon.com for the top spot in e-commerce. The traditional brick-and-mortar retailer has invested significant resources in an attempt to the dethrone Amazon from the top spot, but so far has little to show for its efforts. Perhaps with the recent additions of Jet.com and ShoeBuy, as well as a reorganization of the e-commerce division, Wal-Mart will start to chip away at the significant market share that Amazon holds in the e-commerce space. What Wal-Mart does have going for it is a nationwide network of brick-and-mortar stores that can be leveraged for the omnichannel customer journey, including buy online, pick up in-store and ship from store to speed up the delivery of online orders. However, Wal-Mart better cash in on that advantage quickly, because Amazon is now making inroads in physical retail too.