Members will soon receive free shipping on all online purchases within two and two days, regardless of the total number of orders. However, shipping items like groceries from Walmart stores still cost at least $ 35.
Walmart said in a statement that the move reflects its promise to add more Walmart + perks. The launch in September included free delivery of more than 160,000 items with an order value of $ 35 or more, as well as access to a Scan & Go payment option in the Walmart app and gas discounts of up to 5 cents per gallon at almost 2,000 gas stations. (Walmart is now adding 500 Sam & # 39; s Club gas stations to this list as well.)
Poor benefits, including the $ 35 minimum order, was one of the first complaints about Walmart +.
In September, Gartner analyst Kyle Rees told Adweek that Walmart + members would need to build bigger baskets instead of ordering individual items as needed – which Amazon makes easy with its Prime membership program. This, he said, made Walmart + "a more difficult sale for the impulse buyer who relies on Amazon to complete orders on mundane basics."
At the time, retail expert Bruce Winder noted that Walmart customers could simply opt for pickup and head to one of the retailer's 4,700 U.S. locations to avoid the $ 35 minimum – and $ 98 for to pay for participation in the program.
"Many retailers have already offered free shipping when you buy a $ 35 product with no fee, so that's not much," he said.
While Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, previously stressed that Walmart + is about saving customers money and time – not Amazon – she noted that the change will help set Walmart + apart further.
"No other membership allows customers across the country to have everything from gingerbread and eggnog to Christmas decorations and toys delivered for free the same day," she said.
It wasn't clear what exactly drove the change, although Whiteside's statement also states that customers "want this benefit."
Whether lowering the $ 35 minimum will help Walmart attract new members remains to be seen. A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment on membership numbers so far, adding, "We're very excited to have this piece of the puzzle in place."
Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali said, "My head is spinning with all the different thresholds," but removing the $ 35 minimum should help Walmart compete with Amazon and Target, which has no roadside pickup threshold while the pandemic gained market share.