June officially begins the summer season and what better way to welcome warmer weather and vacations than one-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. Yes, starting Monday this week, Amazon said it will launch its free one-day shipping option for more than 10 million items available to Amazon Prime members in the United States.
It is an exciting promotion, to be sure, and it will directly compete with what is probably Amazon’s biggest competitor: Walmart. The brick-and-mortar discount retailer has been trying to regain ground it lost in the retail world to Amazon’s convenient digital marketplace, and speeding up its shipping (and making in-store pickup easier) has helped it to do so.
But Amazon’s one-day shipping bests the world’s largest chain store, not necessarily in speed of shipping, but in number of products available. Indeed, Walmart does have next-day shipping but it is only available for 220,000 items, and these items can vary, regionally by store and based on a customer’s ordering habits.
Of course, Amazon will also continue to expand its available product selection and service availability as well. In a press release, the company said, “The most popular one-day items range from books, beauty, and baby wipes to devices, dish detergent, and doggie bags.” In addition, Amazon said it “will keep adding more selection and expanding our delivery areas to ensure Prime member get their products faster than ever.”
Perhaps more importantly, Walmart only launched its one-day shipping program a month ago, and it was only available in certain cities. The plan is to expand its availability to 75 percent of the US by the end of this year. Also, Walmart has said it plans to expand its selection of available items for next-day shipping over time, too. Of course, they have not indicated which items they plan to expand or how they will make that decision.
What could be the most crucial component of this comparison is the price. While Amazon said, in April, it was going to shorten the two-day shipping option to next-day, it is important to remember that this service is only available to Amazon Prime members, which costs $119 annually and requires no minimum purchase amount. Walmart’s next-day program, however, requires a minimum purchase of $35 and has no annual fee.