Walmart Just Made Your Online Holiday Shopping Even More Affordable

Shortly after it launched, Walmart's subscription service Walmart+ said it would charge a $35 minimum on orders if members wanted their items delivered through its next-day or two-shipping service for free. Now Walmart+ has upped the ante against its competitors like Amazon by dropping that $35 minimum spend; the shipping fee waiver covers all items that are indicated as being "shipped by Walmart," although it doesn't cover oversized, freight items, and selected third-party sellers. The minimum fee waiver doesn't cover groceries either, and you'll still need to spend at least $35 at Walmart, per se, to get your groceries delivered for free via their delivery service. The waiver on the delivery fee kicked in earlier this month, and the service has not indicated this would be a limited offer.

CNET says the delivery charge waiver makes Walmart+ more competitive against its biggest rival, Amazon Prime, which had — and continues to offer — free shipping on eligible items that can be found on its site. This meant that Walmart+'s minimum-spend-for-free-delivery proposition had put it at a slight disadvantage from the get-go, even if it had been offering a cheaper subscription fee and 5 percent fuel discounts on purchases from Walmart & Murphy stations. Walmart charges a $98 annual subscription fee; Amazon's is $119.

Walmart says 'customers want this benefit'

By waiving delivery charges for Walmart+ members, Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said they were addressing a customer ask. "Customers have been clear; they want this benefit. Being able to toss an item into your cart, regardless of the total, and check out right away lets [customers] knock little things off their to-do list in no time," Whiteside says. The tweak was also in line with promises made by Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillion during the company's earnings call, where he noted, "...we're excited to have that important piece of the puzzle in place. We launched it with an initial set of benefits that we know are important to our customers. Over time, we'll evaluate the program against our broader set of assets with the aim of improving the value proposition and deepening our relationship with customers, including earning a greater share of wallet" (via Supermarket News).

Walmart could benefit from the tweak, especially since the pandemic could see a jump for online retail sales figures in general. The National Retail Foundation estimates that online holiday sales figures could jump by at least 20 percent, and reach $202.5 billion this year. Online shopping figures for Black Friday also broke records, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.