Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has announced its latest offering to attract more business – free next-day delivery with no membership fee. Soon, shoppers will be able to get free next-day delivery on 220,000 items, including diapers, nonperishable food items, toys, and electronics. Walmart says that the service will be available in Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas first, and will then expand to Southern California.
Shoppers on Walmart.com can access NextDay delivery via a stand-alone function. Next-day delivery will require a minimum order of $35 and will have a daily cut off time. The company’s stated goal is to have 75 percent of the U.S. population, including 40 of the top 50 major U.S. metro areas, covered by the program by the end of 2019. Walmart says it has been building a network of more efficient e-commerce distribution centers to reach that goal.
The move by Walmart comes two weeks after Amazon announced that it would be expanding its free shipping options for its Amazon Prime members. Amazon plans for Prime members to be able to get many of their items in one day instead of two with no additional fee for the shortened delivery window. Amazon has declined to say when the switch to one-day delivery from two-day delivery will happen, but it already offers one-day delivery for some items in certain areas.
Amazon Prime members pay $119 a year for the service, which also includes a wide variety of other benefits, including access to Amazon’s extensive video content library. Amazon changed consumer expectations when it launched its two-day delivery program for Prime members back in 2005. Now, Walmart and Target also offer free two-day shipping, but without a membership fee, so Amazon is looking for ways to make its membership more attractive.