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Walmart+ plus: No minimum for free shipping

Retailer to eliminate $35 minimum order requirement effective Friday

No more minimums (Photo:Walmart)

Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said Wednesday that it will lift its $35 minimum order requirement for members of its new Walmart+ service to qualify for unlimited free shipping.

The new feature, which launches Friday, means that Walmart+ members will receive free next-day and two-day shipping regardless of the dollar value of their orders, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant said. Prices for the item will remain the same, the company said.

Launched at the end of September, Walmart+ offers free unlimited same-day deliveries on groceries and general merchandise. However, there had been a $35 order minimum to be eligible for free shipping under the program.

The Walmart+ program, which costs members $98 a year or $12.95 per month, represented an expansion of a pure e-grocery delivery program that Walmart launched late last year. The service was launched at a lower price point than Amazon Prime, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) successful online offering, which costs $119 a year for unlimited one- and two-day shipping, and offers same-day deliveries for an additional fee. However, Amazon Prime members have access to millions of items on Amazon’s site. About 160,000 items were available for same-day deliveries under Walmart+ when the program began.

The Walmart+ service is unlikely to pose a competitive threat to Amazon, and Walmart executives have never positioned it in such a way. 

The launch was primarily aimed at countering moves made by multiple retailers, including Amazon, into online grocery fulfillment and delivery, a fast-growing though still relatively small segment of the total e-commerce landscape. Walmart generates about 55% of its revenue from groceries, according to industry estimates.

Online grocery will swell to 21.5% of total U.S. grocery sales by 2025, more than doubling its current share of the overall grocery market, a recent study by grocery e-commerce specialist Mercatus and research firm Incisiv has projected.

For 2020, online grocery’s percentage of the $1.04 trillion grocery market is pegged at 10.2%, or about $106 billion, up from 3.4%, or $34.54 billion, of the $1.02 billion market in 2019, according to the study. By 2025, online grocery’s dollar share stands to climb to $250.26 billion of the estimated $1.16 trillion overall grocery market.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.