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Can Anyone Compete With Amazon Prime?

Prime has ruled the shipping roost for years, but can other major stores match its perks?
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Prime Competition

Since its introduction in 2005, Amazon Prime has arguably set the high watermark for online shipping: pay a flat annual fee, and you get everything shipped within two days for free. We've pointed out its perks, jeered its occasional pitfalls, and guided you through Prime Day. So the only real surprise is that it's taken this long for other big stores to try to compete with Amazon. Enter Walmart and Best Buy.

SEE ALSO: How to Get One Extra Month of Amazon Prime for Free

What Does Walmart's ShippingPass Offer?

In late June of this year, Walmart refined its ShippingPass program. Like Prime, it now offers no-minimum free 2-day shipping on many items sitewide for a flat annual fee. ShippingPass' fee is a solid 50% cheaper though, costing $49 per year compared to Prime's $99. It also matches Prime's offer of a free 30-day trial.

If you're placing a lot of smaller orders via Walmart's site, it's certainly an attractive alternative to their usual $4.97 flat-fee shipping; it would only take 10 small orders to justify the annual expense, although most items are also available via in-store pickup.

It's also worth noting that, unlike Prime, ShippingPass doesn't appear to offer any guarantees on its 2-day shipping. Its FAQ section recommends you order before 2 pm ET to ensure same-day shipping, but doesn't give any indication of what recourse you have if it doesn't arrive on time. It also explains that while 2-day shipping is available on many best-selling items, other items may only qualify for free value shipping, which can take up to six days.

Is My Best Buy Any Better?

Now Best Buy plans on getting into the thick of things. Starting August 28, their My Best Buy program will grant its members free 2-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. No, Best Buy isn't matching Amazon's and Walmart's no-minimum perk, but it makes up for that by being completely free.

Members can also avail themselves of their My Best Buy Phone Rewards scheme, which bags you a $25 My Best Buy credit every time you buy and activate a new smartphone after your first phone purchase. All told, it's not as significant a shift as Walmart's move — Best Buy offers free standard shipping when you spend $35 as a matter of course — but it's a free upgrade for those who like their electronics delivered promptly.

So How Do They Stack Up?

As of this minute, it's tough to beat Amazon Prime's smorgasbord of delights. Even if you completely ignored their shipping guarantee, you've still got Amazon Video, Amazon Music, Kindle Library, Amazon Family, Amazon Pantry... the list does go on.

On account of this, Yahoo Finance remained resolutely unimpressed with Walmart's overtures, stating "Amazon Prime is arguably the best online shopping option for consumers today. It will be a long time before ShippingPass even comes close to Prime’s power and influence."

What do you think, reader? Are you tempted by ShippingPass? Is Best Buy doing enough to compete? Weigh in below!


Staff Writer

Alan Byrne will have to do for now. He cries a lot. Reassure him at his skillfully neglected blog, or on Twitter at @RidiculousHuman.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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13 comments
nickplagman
you forgot to factor in Amazon's unbeatable customer service.
schulzey
Once we had kids, we decided to go with Prime because around birthdays and holidays, we never ordered things weeks in advance to get them in time, so the free two day shipping or just free shipping saved us the $100 easily and made sure many gifts arrived in time. Then, I got hooked on Prime Video. Between Netflix and Prime Video, I barely miss broadcast TV.
kydn
Smorgasbord, not *board
bjturk512
Most of what I order from Walmart I pick up in-store, so I don't need Shipping Pass. Even at twice the cost, Amazon Prime blows everyone else away with all of the other benefits they offer.
jeffreolson
joe1512, thanks for your comments. I thought maybe I was alone in my latest Amazon 2-day shipping experience. In the past it has been very reliable but this year it has been terrible and I've stopped calling Amazon about it. My last item was 4 days out and that's not including Sunday.
nematoda
Amazon had a huge advantage by getting in the game first. Most people--including myself--are willing to pay for one free-shipping membership, but a lot of people aren't willing to pay for two. So the late comers have a harder time attracting new members.

That said, my choice is with Amazon. Unlike Joe1512, I've rarely come across non-Prime items. I'd say 90% of the stuff I order comes in two days or less. Plus, Amazon's customer service and return policy can't be beat.
DeletedUser169775
Also just to add to my post, the absolute worst part about Walmart is the in store experience. The place is an absolute zoo! However they sell so many different items in one place for great prices, therefore Shipping pass allows me to utilize Walmart's selection and prices, without ever stepping foot in the store!
DeletedUser169775
I recently joined Walmart's Shipping Pass and so far I think it's great! My reason here is Walmart can actually save you money on most day to day items because you can purchase the inexpensive Walmart brand items and have it shipped two day. Amazon sells all name brand items that you have to pay full price. Items such as qtips, wax paper, hand soap, etc. The other reason I like Shipping pass is because so many grocery items are available, Amazon you have to use their grocery and fill the box or whatever. Obviously Prime gives you so much more, but for purely saving money, I think the edge goes to Shipping Pass.
igotthisone
I'm surprised you didn't include Target REDcard. I find this to be a great program with using the Debit Card program they offer. 5% off your order, free Target.com shipping. They also run some amazing promotions on items like Tide, etc. that make their pricing even better than those others. Last iPad was bought there too, 5% off and $200 trade-in for my first generation so even electronics can be a bargain.
piewakit
Nothing competes with Amazon Prime. If you don't agree, you haven't used it and all it's great services, along with the best customer service I've ever dealt with. I buy and sell on Ebay too but, it's not even close. Never deal with Walmart and have Best Buy Elite account but, it doesn't come close.
dkm7209
Sir, you are sadly mistaken; eBay kicks Amazon's Ass!
luvsdeals
I have to say, I was optimistic about Walmart ShippingPass and joined early when it was offered to me over a year ago. It started out pretty good, but is currently very disappointing. I received one package 12 days after ordering, one package, after around 10 days never showed up. I had to track it down, (was liquid product) had learned from tracking it had been damaged and had been returned. I never got 1 email update, not any sort of anything to alert me. I then had to call Walmart, and the rep sent out a replacement. There have been several other packages very late, and at best, they will offer a 10% discount, but usually they seem to expect their "assurances" that it will arrive ("soon") to be sufficient enough. So, if using WM's ShippingPass, I only try to order that which I am not counting on actually getting within 2, 3 days, maybe even a week. Not impressed, Walmart is not currently competition to Prime at all, IMHO.
joe1512
I'd mention that Amazon is a relatively small subset of stuff that is actually prime eligible unlike Walmart/BB/etc. Furthermore, many time I see "prime eligible...once we actually get it in stock 3 days from now" type stuff.
Lately Ive even seen "prime eligible... 4-5 day shipping". Wait..WTF?
Go look up CR123 to see what I mean. All prime results are 4-5 days.
So, a lot of Prime 2 day shipping is BS honestly.
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