Walmart fights back against Amazon with one-day shipping

WASHINGTON: Walmart Inc is stepping up its battle with Amazon.com Inc by offering one-day delivery without a shipping fee, weeks after Amazon announced a similar offer — a move that will intensify the race to deliver orders to shoppers faster.
On April 25, Amazon said it plans to deliver packages to members of its loyalty club Prime in just one day and expects to spend $800 million toward the shipping goal in the second quarter alone.
Walmart’s offer applies to fewer products. As many as 220,000 items, which are the most frequently purchased, ranging from laundry detergent to toys and electronics will qualify for one-day shipping.
The Walmart deal will be available to online shoppers in Phoenix and Las Vegas and then expand to Southern California in the coming days, the head of its US e-commerce service, Marc Lore, said.
The service will be rolled out gradually, with a plan to reach approximately 75 per cent of the US population this year, which includes 40 of the top 50 US metro areas, Lore said.
One-day shipping marks the latest salvo in a fight between two retailers that have consistently tried to outdo each other in everything from online order delivery to grabbing a bigger share of the online grocery market.
Walmart started offering same-day pickup in its stores in 2011 and caught up with Amazon’s two-day free shipping two years ago by offering it without a membership fee. It has made progress in closing the gap with its e-commerce rival by rolling out services such as curbside grocery pickup and same-day grocery delivery — options that have quickly become popular with shoppers.
Amazon, on the other hand, has hastened to reproduce the assets of brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart and has a mixed record with those projects.
It is now racing to open shops with top-selling items ranging from books to cell phones; rolling out same-day curbside grocery pickup and gearing up to accept returns at all US Kohls Corp department stores.— Reuters