The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer is eliminating the membership fee on its own two-day shipping program, and simultaneously lowering its free shipping order minimum from $50 to $35.
Wal-Mart will also fully refund the membership fee for existing Shipping Pass members.
Walmart now offers free two-day shipping on orders over $35.
In a press statement, Marc Lore, head of Walmart's e-commerce division described free two-day shipping as "table stakes" for online retailers, telling reporters he hoped the move would "build loyalty". The company's e-commerce sales in 2015 totaled about $14 billion.
The action taken by Walmart comes as a strong response to Amazon's membership program.
WMT has chose to do away with the program, however, and instead roll out free shipping for everyone without a subscription fee. The new two-day shipping for everyone was the next natural step and more "customer-centric", the company said. On the other hand, Amazon Prime offers a slew of other perks in addition to free two-day shipping.
Items included in the free shipping offer include pet products, cleaning supplies, baby necessities such as baby wipes, and foods like cereal and peanut butter.
Lore is probably right that two-day shipping is the new norm for customers, but Amazon Prime has moved well beyond free shipping as it looks to justify the $99 a year cost. By some estimates there are 60 million Prime members in the U.S.
Two million of the 20 million products carried on Walmart's website will be available for two-day shipping.
While this new model is sure to bolster Walmart's eCommerce endeavors, the chances that Walmart will ultimately dethrone Amazon through this initiative are probably slim, largely because Walmart is attempting to match plans with a multimedia subscription service that only seems to be expanding. Walmart says this is the just the beginning of more to come. "There won't be too many products that you'll want that won't be available for two-day shipping".
More interesting is an ongoing promotion from ShopRunner, a membership service that provides two-day delivery for orders from dozens of retailers, like Ralph Lauren, Staples, Under Armour, Eddie Bauer, Reebok, and more.