Walmart announced today that it is dropping the $35 minimum order requirement for its Express delivery service. The move comes during a time of record-breaking online grocery shopping and increased competition among retailers to grab consumer dollars.
Walmart launched its two-hour Express delivery service last May, during the height of the first wave of the pandemic. The speedy delivery lets customers order groceries, staples, electronics and more, and costs an additional $10 on top of the existing delivery charge (Walmart+ subscribers pay just the $10 Express fee).
This is the second time Walmart has waived a $35 minimum order. In December, Walmart removed the $35 minimum for Walmart.com orders for its Walmart+ subscribers, though that didn’t apply to groceries until today.
We’re a year into the pandemic, and while there are vaccines being deployed, online grocery is expected to remain sticky with consumers. Brick Meets Click estimated that online grocery hit $9.3 billion in sales during the month of January, with nearly 70 million households placing an average of 2.8 orders across delivery, pickup and ship-to-home categories.
Walmart’s removal of the minimum order for Express delivery is most directly a shot at Amazon, which offers free two-hour delivery for its Prime members (there’s a $4.99 fee if the order is less than $35). The two companies are locked in a pretty heated battle to win your grocery business. Walmart has been going after Amazon in the digital realm with the Walmart+ membership service that it launched last September, and Amazon has been expanding into the physical world with its line of real world Fresh grocery stores.
Though Walmart has vastly more retail locations than Amazon, Walmart+ has far fewer subscribers. One estimate has Walmart+ at roughly 8 million subscribers, while Amazon has an estimated 126 million Prime members in the U.S. Though to be fair, Walmart+ is only five months old, compared with the more than 15 years Prime has been around.
Today’s minimum order waiving it just the latest move by Walmart to grab a bigger chunk of our grocery e-commerce . In January, the company announced that it was deploying automated fulfillment centers to dozens of its stores to speed up order processing. The retailer is also testing out smart lockers for home delivery, grocery delivery via autonomous cars, and even delivery by drone.
Walmart’s Express delivery is available at roughly 3,000 stores, which, the company says, reaches nearly 70 percent of the population.