Walmart announced today that starting Dec. 4, it will remove the $35 shipping minimum on Walmart.com orders for its Walmart+ members.
An answer to Amazon’s Prime Membership, Walmart+ launched in September of this year. With today’s announcement, Walmart+ members will get free next-day and two-day shipping on items from Walmart.com no matter the size of their shopping basket.
Normally, we wouldn’t cover this type of announcement because it has to do more with the shipping of non-grocery goods ordered through Walmart’s website. In its press announcement, Walmart even specifically said that grocery deliveries will still carry a $35 minimum.
But we are covering it because Walmart and Amazon are currently duking it to grab your grocery dollars. Both Walmart+ and Amazon Prime offer free grocery delivery as part of their member perks, but the war between the two companies has steadily escalated.
By some accounts, Amazon has more than 120 million Prime members in the U.S. This is a massive base to which it can upsell its grocery services. Of course, Amazon has been building that user base for years, but over the past year, the company has also been building out its grocery infrastructure. In addition to owning Whole Foods, Amazon has launched its real-world Go Grocery stores and Fresh supermarkets, as well as expanded its free grocery delivery for members to provide services like in-garage delivery.
But it’s in that real world where Walmart has its biggest advantage over Amazon. Walmart already has a gigantic, nationwide footprint of more than 4,700 stores in the U.S. Walmart+ members already get free unlimited grocery (though, as noted, there is an order minimum), but Walmart can tie in other real world services like curbside pickup, discounts on gas and mobile scan-and-go cashierless shopping.
In short, if Walmart can attract more people to its Walmart+ offering, that will help it stave off Amazon from gobbling up more of the grocery biz. It’s still a big if, but removing the minimum order amount as Walmart did today could help it sway more users to join Walmart+ and use the service for more grocery delivery.