By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Latest move demonstrates retail giant’s determination to best its online competitor.
Walmart has taken another jab at its online competitor, Amazon.com, the Wall Street Journal reported. In the latest move, the retail giant has announced that it will be offering discounts on certain online orders when customers opt to pick up the items in store instead of having them delivered. The new pricing structure offers a discount on some 10,000 items available only online, based on the shipping costs saved by instore pickup.
Reuters reported that Walmart already provides free shipping for online orders picked up in store, since the retailer saves on shipping fees, but the new discounts would be in addition to that savings. The larger the item, and thus the more expensive shipping fees would be, the greater the additional savings to the customer. For example, Reuters says, a Vizio 70-inch 4K Ultra HD television which sells for $1,698 would qualify for an addition $50 discount if the customer opts for instore pickup of the item.
In an interview, Marc Lore, head of Walmart’s e-commerce operations, said that he anticipates the move will boost transactions online and help improve customer traffic in physical stores. “This is a very material change in the value proposition we are offering customers.”
Walmart has been working actively to boost its ecommerce initiatives, bring new customers into its physical stores, and win a greater market segment away from Amazon. It recently purchased Jet.com, which added a number of Walmart brands to its offerings as Walmart aligns its ecommerce assortments and fulfilment operations with its brick-and-mortar operations, as Innovative Retail Technologies reported.
Amazon and Walmart have also been sparring over customers with their free shipping thresholds and programs, and in March, Amazon dropped its free shipping threshold from $49 to $35 in an effort to counter Walmart’s new free two-day shipping policy, according to Innovative Retail Technologies.
The new discounts go into effect on April 19, on products ranging from televisions to car seats, and the retailer says that the selection of items will reach more than 1 million by the end of June. Lore explained, “We’re leveraging Walmart’s unique set of assets. We’re able to offer these savings by eliminating one of the most expensive parts of e-commerce.”