Walmart takes on Amazon Prime, offers 30-day trial of shipping service

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NEW YORK — Walmart’s Amazon Prime competitor just got more competitive.

The mega retailer’s ShippingPass program is now available for a free 30-day trial. Even existing ShippingPass customers can partake in the deal — Walmart will automatically tack on an extra month to their subscriptions, gratis.

Looking to take a slice out of Amazon’s online retail dominance, Walmart introduced the $50-a-year ShippingPass subscription service last year.

Initially, ShippingPass only offered free three-day shipping. But in May, Walmart matched Amazon Prime with unlimited two-day shipping — while trimming the price to $49 a year. That’s less than half Amazon’s $99 price for Prime.

4 Fast Facts

  • Walmart offers free 30-day trial of ShippingPass service
  • Service gives two-day shipping for $49 annual fee
  • ShippingPass is designed to compete with Amazon’s Prime service
  • Even current ShippingPass customers can get a free month

In addition to unlimited two-day shipping, ShippingPass also lets Walmart customers purchase items with no minimum order requirements, and returns are free — both online and in store.

The program’s free one-month trial offer matches Amazon’s similar 30-day free trial for Prime.

Unlike ShippingPass, Prime includes many services beyond two-day shipping, including Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Music, unlimited photo storage and free e-books.

Free shipping subscription services have been a big boon to retailers. In a press release, Fernando Madeira, CEO of Walmart U.S., noted that ShippingPass customers shop on Walmart.com more often than non-subscribers. Amazon has said that Prime subscribers are far more likely to purchase items on Amazon, even if they just purchase the subscription for the video or music services.

As brick-and-mortar retail sales swoon, Walmart has been ramping up its online efforts. The company bought a stake in Chinese e-retailer JD last week, and Madeira said that Walmart will be introducing new ways to connect the Walmart app, site and store in the coming weeks.

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