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Walmart Scraps ShippingPass Program and Lowers Free Shipping Threshold Instead

Will this new change make more people opt for Walmart when shopping online?

Walmart canceled their ShippingPass program today, marking the end of their attempt to compete with Amazon for paid subscribers.

Walmart made an attempt to compete with Amazon Prime by launching their own paid subscription called ShippingPass back in May 2015. For $49 a year, you received free two-day shipping on any order at Walmart.com, as well as free returns online or in-store. But Walmart has now decided to get rid of the paid subscription and replace it with free two-day shipping as long as you spend at least $35 (the free shipping threshold used to be $50 if you didn't have a ShippingPass subscription). If you ship your order to a Walmart store, there is no minimum order amount and shipping is free.

If you paid for a ShippingPass membership, Walmart will refund you the full amount within 30 days to the original form of payment.

It's not really a shock that this program is now defunct. Walmart didn't do enough marketing to promote the ShippingPass after it launched. Not to mention, the only thing you got was free shipping. Sure, Amazon Prime is $99 per year, but you get so much more than just free shipping. If you're trying to compete with a giant, you better be good with a sling. Walmart wasn't, or maybe they didn't have the stones for it.

Having said that, I will give Walmart credit for this new change. They realized it was too late to enter the paid subscription market, but by lowering their free shipping threshold to $35 after Amazon raised theirs to $49 last year, and delivering in two days as opposed to three to five days, they can win over non-Prime members who still shop at Amazon; maybe even some Prime members who only use Amazon for the free shipping.

Jet.com did the same thing shortly after coming onto the scene in 2015. They scrapped the paid subscription model and offered free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. Coincidentally, Walmart bought Jet.com last year and the co-founder of Jet, Marc Lore, is now the president and CEO of Walmart's eCommerce division.

The reaction to this news from the Slickdeals community is mixed. Some are in favor of it, while others aren't jumping ship quite as fast.

"Interesting, $35 is a low enough minimum for me to start placing orders from Walmart. Good business tactic." -- DaShaka

"I've had Walmart shipping pass and it's been a positive experience. Some things have even been delivered before 2 days. I will miss the no minimum for shipping though. I like that I can return in store. So many things on Amazon can't be returned without paying for return shipping." -- ConsuellaR

"When Walmart fully competes with Amazon I may give them a look. But for now their website is sub-par to Amazon's, their customer service is sub-par as well. The whole experience when shopping with Amazon is so much better than Walmart." -- Bob61

"Meh. Main reason I liked Shipping Pass was not just [because] of 2-day shipping. I also liked having the convenience of being able to make an order, and not worry about a minimum." -- This_Field

What's your reaction to this? Are you more or less likely to shop at Walmart now?



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About the Author

Johan Mengesha is the Editorial Director at Slickdeals in Los Angeles, Calif. Mengesha has written for print and online media outlets since 2003 and has a journalism degree from Cal State Northridge. Published work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," the "Daily Sundial" and eHow.com.

21 Comments

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Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep sar_Pat?
#2
WL learning from recent acquisition of Jet.com business model.
Amazon sucked in 2016 for pricing from Non-Prime member.
Jet/Wallmart/Target are winners.
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Last edited by sar_Pat January 31, 2017 at 06:50 PM.
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Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep quiglag?
#3
This is going to be great for Pantry type items. Walmart has a bigger selection and I can get cheaper generic brand items.
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#4
Good move, Walmart. I never would have spent $49 for the "free" shipping. I spend a lot of money at our small local Walmart, and I spend a lot of money online at Amazon. I do not have Amazon prime. I avoid shipping costs by buying enough at one time to put me into the free shipping category. I like Walmart's new $35 threshold and will do more online shopping with them.
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#5
This is a win. I will never pay subscription fees to retailers like Amazon Prime. Down with Amazon.
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#6
Jesus, Amazon is just getting worse and worse. I don't use their prime services outside of the shipping, and really, once they brought in the "addon item" and pantry BS, it isn't even worth it for that, since most everything you buy is going to be more than the minimum anyway. So now they raised the minimum? What a trash company.
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#7
I'm in favor because of the return policy of in-store returns (most items 30 days?). Best Buy is 14 days for electronics (for low volume customers), is that the same for Wal-mart?

Having it shipped to store for free is cool. If they can make YMMV in-store deals for Wal-mart go away and have sales be matched for online for in-store items then that will be a good improvement.

So, I think the $35 limit isn't much of a hurdle for them if they can work out the sales and promotions online better for those that want things shipped. They have a bigger logistics and procurement network but probably not as efficient as Amazon.
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#8
I tried ordering something from them on a Thursday before a 3 day weekend. Item shipped Friday. With Amazon I would have received the item on Saturday. Walmart didn't deliver on Saturdays or Sundays, so I ended up receiving my item the following Tuesday. Two day shipping took five, would have taken four if it wasn't for the holiday.

Cancelled the service immediately and got refunded. Zero reason for me to buy anything from them if they don't deliver on the weekend as long as Amazon carries the same item.
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#9
The problem with shipping pass was that not a lot of products were eligible for the free shipping.
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#10
Walmart prices are often much lower than Amazon. And, Costco items on Amazon are often double. I get them delivered with Google Express, at the Costco price. Not an amazon fan.
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#11
I just received an email today 02/03/2017 saying I am getting a refund for the $49.00 however, I never authorized my debit card this transaction back on August 29, 2016 when WalMart took it out of my account. They obviously do not refund within 30 days! Very disappointed about this being I shop online with WalMart regularly and at the physical store.
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#12
How can they compete with Amazon when they can't even ship stuff like airgun pellets to the most populated state of California.
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#13
I signed up last June (2016) for the shipping pass because I got tired of putting things in a cart and waiting till I had reached the threshold (whatever it was at the time). Then running out of things I needed waiting to reach the threshold. That's not how I run a household. Not even. I would end up getting items locally before the threshold was reached and then I'd have to remove items on Walmart.com. It all got so confusing I just stopped using Walmart altogether for a while. Then along comes this offer for $49 where I can order one item if I want and get it in 2 days. Great I'm thinking. Let's go for it. Then I go to use it yesterday and find it doesn't work. What the heck? Walmart is like hitting a moving target. And I don't like target practice when I'm trying to shop. Needless to say I'll go back to the drawing board and avoid Walmart once again. I still have no formal announcement of the cancellation of my paid shipping pass program. What an awfully run company. Pure hell to deal with. Never know what to expect. I will just use Amazon where I also have the Prime deal. Not having to start my car saves me tons of money each year and all serious contenders for my business should strive to offer a 2 days shipping subscription deal. All others just stay home and don't bother me with your pop up ads and phony coupon deals. I'm not interested in being played.
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#14
And by the way, if Jet management took over Walmart's online management I'll definitely steer clear. I just read above that is the case. Jet is such a fraudulent operation and now in bed with Walmart?? Looks like Walmart is headed the same direction as Sears/Kmart. At one time I can remember Sears was the biggest retailer in the world and now nearly out of business. Way to go Walmart!!!!!!
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#15
Their website is terrible. Way too busy, slow to load, difficult to select, and remember, my local store, etc. So, I needed some led bulbs, ordering 6 exceeded the $35 threshold, so on to checkout I go. At checkout, $5.99 shipping was added, no deliver to store option? As near as I could tell, nowhere did it say this item was exempt from the free shipping. Now, I am getting e-mail reminders that I have items in my shopping cart! All I needed was more junk e-mail...
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