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Walmart takes direct aim at Amazon Prime’s free shipping


Walmart just upped the ante in the home shipping war against its rival, Amazon.

The chain is ending its ShippingPass program, a fee-based, two-day delivery service, in favor of a free two-day shipping program. Shoppers can now order from more than two million items, and have merchandise shipped to their homes or stores without a membership fee.

The free service is available to shoppers that hit a $35 price threshold, which is lower than Shipping Pass’ previous $50 minimum. Orders picked up at a local Walmart store do not need to meet a spending threshold.

By ending its subscription-based ShippingPass program, Walmart hopes to gain a stronger competitive edge against Amazon’s Prime program, which charges $99 annually for unlimited two-day shipping.

“We are moving at the speed of a startup,” said Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce.

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

To “thank active ShippingPass subscribers” for their role in “helping to develop its two-day shipping service,” the company said it will reimburse enrolled ShippingPass shoppers.

“To all our active ShippingPass subscribers: We thank you for helping us develop our new two-day shipping offer. For participating in ShippingPass, you will receive a full refund for your ShippingPass subscription. Refunds will automatically be issued to the original form of payment within 30 days of this announcement,” Walmart’s website said.

In addition to its new two-day shipping program, Walmart will continue to offer same-day store pickup across more than 4,600 stores. It also features its online grocery pickup program at more than 600 locations across the country, and plans to expand the service in the coming year, the chain said.
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