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Walmart+ Ditches $35 Shipping Minimum in Battle With Amazon Prime

Walmart+ members are getting an extra perk just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The big-box giant announced today that it has scrapped the $35 shipping minimum for its subscription service — a move that better positions the offering to compete with rival Amazon’s Prime membership. Starting Dec. 4, subscribers to the program will be able to receive free next-day and two-day shipping, even if they have just a single product from Walmart.com in their basket.

“Customers have been clear — they want this benefit,” chief customer officer Janey Whiteside said in a statement. “Being able to toss an item into your cart, regardless the total, and check out right away lets them knock little things off their to do list in no time.”

The benefit comes less than three months after the launch of Walmart+, which offers free same-day delivery on more than 160,000 products sold at its stores, from groceries and household essentials to tech and toys. What’s more, members have the ability to use the Scan & Go service in the retailer’s namesake app — a touch-free option that has seen increased use amid the coronavirus pandemic. They can also get discounts on gas, saving up to 5 cents a gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations.

After its rollout, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company said the program’s list of benefits would expand “over time.” It is also expanding the number of locations where members can use their fuel savings to include gas stations at more than 500 Sam’s Club units across the country.

Over the past few years, Walmart has taken measures aimed at better aligning its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels. Its rivalry with Amazon has also intensified, with Walmart+ serving as an answer to Prime, which costs $119 a year and has more than 150 million members. Walmart’s annual subscription service costs $98 and a monthly membership is $12.95, while a 15-day free trial period is also offered.

The announcement comes as e-commerce has gained even more ground as consumers turn to digital channels versus brick-and-mortar stores to do their shopping amid the COVID-19 health crisis. In mid-November, Walmart reported a 79% spike in United States-based online sales. Overall, revenues shot up 5.2% to $134.7 billion, while adjusted earnings per share surged 15.5% to $1.34.

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