- Walmart will be offering free same-day delivery in New York City and the nearby area, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
- Walmart and Jet already offer free two-day shipping for $35 or higher orders, in an effort to compete directly with Amazon's two-day Prime program.
- Research indicates that nearly 50% of shoppers would willingly pay for same-day shipping, though the option is only available from 29% of retailers at present.
Is Walmart closing in on Amazon, or will it play continual catch-up?
When Walmart acquired Jet, questions over its intentions abounded, mostly centered around the big box's desire to compete with Amazon. As an e-commerce powerhouse that contrasts with Amazon by offering fluid pricing, Jet seemed poised to give Amazon a run for its money — or rather, consumers' money. Most recently, both Walmart and Target beat out Amazon as preferred vendors for back to school items, causing some to wonder whether the e-commerce battle might soon become a war.
Amazon's deep pockets and willingness to accept massive shipping losses has propelled it to the top of preferred e-commerce shopping sites. However, the giant's e-commerce gains are driven largely by brand recognition and a heavy investment in a nationwide fulfillment network. Legacy retailers like Walmart and Target already boast both a brand and sizeable logistics network — which includes hundreds of stores — allowing them, in theory, the ability to catch up.
If recent news are an indicator, both are making gains, but it's too early to call it even. After all, the holiday season is just ramping up. In the meantime, consumers will continue to benefit from this skirmish between giants, whether through reduced prices or free shipping.