To challenge Amazon directly, Walmart announced today that it is cutting the $ 35 minimum order for its two-hour express delivery service, a competitor to Amazon Prime Now. With Walmart Express Delivery, customers can order groceries, supplies, or the general range of goods from Walmart’s range and then pay a flat fee of $ 10 to have items arrive in two hours or less.
The service comes in handy for more urgent delivery needs – like diapers or a missing ingredient for a recipe, as Customer Product’s SVP, Tom Ward, noted in an announcement. However, they are not intended for larger shopping trips – express orders are limited to 65 items.
Today, Express Delivery is available in nearly 3,000 Walmart stores, covering 70% of the US population, Walmart says. As a third option, it builds on the stores’ existing inventory of pickup and delivery times rather than giving slots to those who can pay higher fees.
As with Walmart’s grocery and pick-up orders, express orders are purchased and packaged for delivery by Walmart’s team of 170,000 buyers. The prices for items are the same as in the store. This gives Walmart a potential competitive advantage over grocery delivery services like Instacart or Shipt, where products can be more expensive and hasty or inexperienced shoppers are not always able to find items or search their backs and have to mark them as “out” in stock.”
In theory, Walmart employees have a better understanding of the inventory and layout of their own store, which makes such issues less likely. It will also have instant access to order details to better understand what is being sold, which replacement customers are accepting customers for out of stock goods, when to be on staff for busy times, and much more.
In addition to grocery delivery, Express Delivery competes with Amazon’s Prime Now, a service that also offers a combination of groceries and other essentials and goods for everyday use. Currently, Prime Now’s 2-hour service requires a minimum order of $ 35 in many cases with no additional fees. However, the Prime Now app explains that some local business partners charge fees even when that minimum fee is met and others may have higher order minimum requirements, making the service confusing for consumers.
Out: $ 35 minimum on express delivery orders
In: Endless takeaway and bake pizza delivered to your doorstep
As of today, no more $ 35 min. Purchase requisition for express shipping. Another way we make it easier than ever to get what you need, when you need it. https://t.co/lCgQItLeRn pic.twitter.com/HONlL0SzxG
– Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) March 1, 2021
Walmart’s news comes at a time when Amazon is apparently trying to discourage consumers from using the standalone Prime Now app as well.
When you open the Prime Now app, a large pop-up message will inform you that you can now shop for Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh in the Amazon app. A button labeled “Flip the switch” will redirect you. Meanwhile, on the Amazon website, which advertises Prime’s delivery benefits, the brand name “Prime Now” is not mentioned at all. Instead, Amazon is promoting free same-day (5-hour) delivery of bestsellers and essentials on orders with a minimum order value of $ 35, or Whole Foods and Fresh free grocery delivery within 2 hours.
When asked why Amazon is pushing Prime Now customers to its main app, Amazon downplayed this as an ongoing effort to educate consumers about the option.
Walmart, on the other hand, merged its separate delivery apps into one last year.
After the items are picked, Walmart works with a network of partners including DoorDash, Postmates, Roadie and Pickup Point, as well as the internal delivery services to bring orders to customers’ doorsteps. This portion of the last mile has become a major investment area for Walmart and competitors in recent months. For example, Walmart acquired assets from a peer-to-peer delivery startup JoyRun in November. Previously, a former Walmart delivery partner, Deliv, sold to Target.
This isn’t the first time Walmart has cut its minimum order size to better compete with Amazon and others.
In December, Walmart announced that its Prime alternative known as Walmart + would lift the $ 35 minimum on Walmart.com same-day orders. But it had stopped extending that benefit to same-day grocery stores until now.
To some extent, Walmart’s ability to lower minimum requirements has to do with the logistics of its delivery operations. Walmart has turned its stores more into fulfillment centers by turning some into small, automated warehouses in collaboration with technology providers and robotics companies including Alert Innovation, Dematic, and Fabric.
And because the stores are physically closer to customers than the Amazon warehouses, the company can deliver a wide variety of goods faster while turning large parking lots into picking stations – another thing that might worry Amazon that is now buying closed mall stores for your own fulfillment operations.
Walmart still has a minimum of $ 35 today for other pickup and delivery orders, as well as same-day Walmart + subscriber orders.