Walmart is making a move to try and grab a larger share of the online shopping market dominated by Amazon.
The retail giant is gearing up to test a new unlimited shipping service similar to Amazon Prime but at almost half the cost.
Walmart has given no name for their service yet but they have revealed it will cost $50 a year and offer free, unlimited three-day shipping on select products purchased on the company’s website.
Compare this to Amazon Prime’s $99 a year for free unlimited two-day shipping and it’s a large underscore.
Company spokesman Ravi Jariwala has said currently there are only plans to run limited testing of the new shipping service with no promises for a wider public release. Jariwala stated this new service is in response to increasing demands from customers looking for predictable and affordable shipping.
The Beta will be invitation only and restricted geographically, though no specific location has been confirmed. Out of the 7 million products sold on Walmart’s site, only around 1 million of the company’s top sellers will be eligible for free shipping with the service.
Walmart’s unlimited shipping service may beat out Amazon Prime in price but lacks many of the additional services Prime offers. In addition to free two-day shipping, Prime members have access to music and video streaming, unlimited cloud photo storage plus an additional 5GB file storage, and the Kindle Owners Lending Library offering one free e-book rental a month.
It is possible Walmart will expand on its unlimited shipping service in the future, possibly creating a membership service closer to what Amazon Prime offers. The company is set up fairly well to expand the service if they chose. For example, Walmart already has a video streaming service, Vudu, that they could possibly include down the road.
Cloud storage may be another matter though.
Walmart has tested other services before that they have yet to expand, such as their grocery delivery service that is only available in five locations across the U.S. Jariwala has indicated that the future of Walmart’s unlimited shipping service will depend on the Beta.
“Depending on customer feedback we will see how the program evolves.”
Walmart image via Shutterstock