Today, Wal-Mart scrapped its $49 membership fee for free shipping, and instead began offering free two-day shipping for orders that are more than $35 on a number of items. Previously, the threshold was $50.
Items shipped to stores also have free shipping, with no minimum purchase amount.
Marc Lore, who is Wal-Mart’s new president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S. e-commerce since Wal-mart purchased Jet.com, called free two-day shipping “table stakes.”
“It no longer makes sense to charge for it,” said Lore, who has been in the role for four months and said that Wal-Mart is “moving at the speed of a start-up.”
The free two-day shipping will be available on the items that Wal-Mart said customers shop for the most, including baby necessities, pet products, food, cleaning supplies, beauty items, top electronics and toys.
Wal-Mart scraps its ShippingPass, which was its answer to Amazon Prime in that customers could pay a yearly membership fee of $49 to quality for free, two-day shipping. Current ShippingPass members will receive a refund on the membership.
Lore said “ShippingPass was a great way to test what we ultimately wanted to offer customers — free two-day shipping.” He added that future changes will continue to focus on saving customers money and time. He added, “We’ve rolled out a new leadership team and organizational structure that’s highly customer-centric,” and that his focus was on “leveraging unique assets and network” to serve customers in ways that only Wal-Mart can.
Ostensibly, this refers in part to Wal-Mart’s physical retail locations. To that end, Wal-Mart offers same-day store pickup on many items in 4,600 stores and online grocery pickup at 600 locations.
Last August, Wal-Mart announced plans to acquire potential Jet.com, which Lore founded, for $3.3 billion. Lore remains with the Jet business, which has continued as a separate entity from Wal-Mart. Lore also founded Quidsi, whose Diapers.com, Soap.com and Wag.com were acquired by Amazon.
Wal-Mart president and ceo Doug McMillon said in August, in announcing the acquisition, “I think we’ve got some cool ideas on how the two brands can work over time,” adding that Lore had focused Jet.com higher-income shoppers than the mean of walmart.com consumers.
Amazon’s Prime membership is $99 for free two-day shipping on many items, and free same-day shipping in some zip codes. It also offers a number of other options, such as access to videos, music and e-books.