Fighting back against Amazon and other online sellers, Walmart said Wednesday it is going to offer a discount on thousands of items ordered online -- if shoppers will then go to their closest store to pick them up.
At a time when traditional stores are losing shoppers who would rather make their purchases online, Walmart’s latest deal allows the world’s biggest retailer to offer the ease of online shopping while taking advantage of its thousands of stores, cutting costs while still offering convenience. Customers save on delivery costs and get their orders faster -- and maybe they'll even stick around and shop.
Starting April 19, customers can get discounts on roughly 10,000 items, ranging from car seats to TVs, that are exclusively available online. The selection will grow to more than 1 million by the end of June.
The retailer says that it's passing along some of the savings reaped from relying on its own fleet of trucks to drop off items at Walmart’s 4,700 stores, rather than paying the significant costs of dropping packages off at customers' homes.
“We’re leveraging Walmart’s unique set of assets,’’ says Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce. “We’re able to offer these savings by eliminating one of the most expensive parts of e-commerce.’’
Discounts vary, with the price cut depending on how much Walmart saves on shipping costs, Lore says. But for “items that ship via freight, like a 70-inch TV, the savings can be quite substantial,’’ he says. “So the biggest opportunity is to save on big items or heavy items.’’’
A 70-inch Vizio SmartCast 4K Ultra HDTV that sells for $1,698 will drop $50 with the pickup discount. Meanwhile, a slate-colored Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat that costs $148.05 will fall to $140.65. A Lego City Great Vehicles Ferry, that costs $23.99 will be discounted to $21.44. And a 150-quart Coleman Heritage XP Marine Cooler retailing for $111.49 will drop to $107.03.
The shipping and discounting wars between Walmart and e-commerce giant Amazon have been heating up in recent months.
In January, Walmart announced that nearly 2 million of its most popular products would qualify for free two-day shipping as long as the customer spent a minimum of $35. There would be no minimum if they had the orders delivered to a local store for pickup. The move was seen as a counter to Amazon Prime, which offers unlimited two-day shipping, and other perks, for a monthly or annual fee.