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Walmart Will Offer an Unlimited Shipping Service That's Cheaper Than Amazon

Get 3-day shipping on over one million items at Walmart for half the cost of Amazon Prime.
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It's no secret that Walmart and Amazon are bitter rivals. While the former is the undisputed brick-and-mortar king, Amazon's online dominance is unrivaled.

But in an attempt to boost its e-commerce presence, Walmart today announced a new unlimited shipping program. For $50 a year, half the cost of Amazon Prime, Walmart online shoppers can get free shipping in three days or less. Codenamed Tahoe, the shipping service is expected to roll out later this spring on an invite-only basis.

Free Shipping on Over a Million Products — But What Other Perks?

According to the National Retail Federation, Walmart is the biggest retailer in the country, dwarfing industry giants like Target, Costco, and Amazon. However, as more consumers switch to online shopping, Walmart wants to ensure it remains in the dominant position.

Currently, the company offers free value shipping (six to nine days) on purchases of $50 or more. Under its new plan, customers will get 3-day shipping for $50 a year. Although that's a day slower than Prime, it's considerably cheaper.

However, Walmart's new service doesn't include any additional perks, like the free video and music streaming options, that Amazon provides. That's not to say Walmart can't entice consumers with perks of its own. Walmart owns Vudu, an on-demand digital video service. And last year it introduced the Vudu Spark, a Chromecast-like dongle for streaming video from its Vudu service.

In terms of what products will qualify for free shipping, the company says the service will apply to over a million items, including toys and electronics, during beta trials. Currently, Walmart offers over 7 million products for sale online. As with most shipping programs, items sold through the retailer's marketplace will not qualify for free shipping.

The Free Shipping Landscape

With its latest move, Walmart joins an ever-growing club of retailers with free shipping services. Back in February, Target announced it would offer its customers free shipping on orders of $25 or more. That's $10 under Amazon's minimum and $25 under Walmart's threshold. And last year, Newegg also introduced its own shipping program called Newegg Premier, which for $50 per year offers complimentary 3-day shipping.

Will you try out Walmart's new shipping program? Or will you stick with another online retailer? Let us know in the comments below.


Senior Writer Emeritus

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
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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12 comments
PythonX
Thanks for the tip - downonfarm.

I will check it out. Gotta head over soon for supplies anyways.
downonfarm
To PythonX:

Double check your local Walmart stores' policy for price matching to Walmart.com. It's true that they wouldn't do this in the past, but since Christmas 2014 all of my local Walmarts have been price-matching Walmart.com even right at the register. I just show them the price on my phone and they adjust it. (Philadelphia, PA area) Good luck.

As for the free shipping for $50/year - not worth it for me. In the rare cases that I can't use Site to Store for free, there's usually some staple I can add to the order to push it above $50.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@JABrwoky13 I imagine they're testing it out to capture shoppers who don't live anywhere near a Walmart (like me!).
JABrwoky13
Walmart is typically convenient enough that we stop in and get what we need on our way home from work. If I find something online that is a good price, I ship to store for free and pick it up. Because the stores are conveniently located, I don't see a reason to pay $50 when I just use ship to store for free.
dorothyparnell
stick w/ amazon
PythonX
They will ship to store for free but they won't match in store items with their own website prices! Freaking joke!! So order something and they ship it to the store when the item is already on the shelf?? I actually was standing in the store one day and had to do this! Dumb policy!!
deltaman
Walmart already offers free "ship-to-store" on thousands of items -- without regard to price, and free ship-to-home on thousands of additional items on orders of $50 or more. Effectively then, you'll be paying an extra $50 annually, to get your orders 3 ~ 4 days sooner -- unless Walmart starts stretching-out "free" delivery times the way Amazon delays "Super Saver" shipments...
lakeparkdon
not clear from reading the article: free shipping to your door? Or pick up at store (which is a real pain in the axx because there is never an attendant available and you will wait 5 minutes - or more - for them to show up)
5bricker8
We'll see how it plays out but my local retailers are far preferred over 'Wally World' for brick and mortar shopping. My feelings are the same for internet shopping and it will take a lot to break my positive experiences with Amazon Prime!!!
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
The only time I shop at Walmart is when I'm at my sister's house in the NJ 'burbs and we've unexpectedly run out of something. It's very convenient for that. I don't think I've ever ordered something online from Walmart.
johnnylately
We love Walmart and for half the price we might just drop Prime, especially since Walmart and Amazon have been price matching each other and Amazon is now collecting state sales tax.
B from C
The once and a blue moon that I actually order from the evil Chinamart, I always choose "pick up" at my local FedEx office for free. Then I don't have to deal with the Zoo inside or signatures when FedEx tries to deliver. And it's free.
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