Walmart is making a notable to change to ShippingPass, its 3-day shipping service, and answer to Amazon Prime launched into beta testing last year. The company says this morning it will move from 3-day delivery to 2-day delivery – which makes the service far more competitive with Amazon’s similarly structured annual shipping program.
This is an interesting move on Walmart’s part, given that its original idea with ShippingPass was to compete by offering a delivery service that’s faster than usual, but not quite as speedy as Amazon Prime. However, the advantage was that Walmart would undercut the cost of Prime in exchange for this delay.
Walmart’s ShippingPass customers paid half the price of an annual Prime Membership -ShippingPass is $49/year (down from $50/year previously), versus Amazon’s $99/year program – and then only had to wait one more day for their delivery.
Now, they only have to wait 2 days – the same as with Prime.
While Prime today is a membership program with a range of benefits, including access to free music, books, TV shows and movies, Walmart is focusing only on delivery with its ShippingPass service. There are no other features.
But it’s not the lack of benefits that’s keeping the price down, says Walmart. Instead, the company explains that it’s able to offer “faster and more affordable shipping” because it has a unique fulfillment network which includes new, large-scale fulfillment centers, stores, distribution centers and a transportation network.
Walmart’s shipping service today offers subscribers access to over a million items, including those most frequently purchased on Walmart’s website. The website offers a wider selection of around 7 million items. That suggests Walmart may eventually choose to expand the selection for ShippingPass customers in the future.
ShippingPass items are delivered to customers’ doors in 2 days or less. There are also no minimum requirements to use ShippingPass, and free returns are supported, as well.
Walmart has not yet disclosed any details about ShippingPass, like number of sign-ups, sales to date, or its margins and impact to Walmart.com’s revenue or bottom line.
ShippingPass isn’t broadly available at this time, but interested customers can sign up to join a waitlist for the pilot program here.