Walmart today announced its intentions to take the wind out of the sails of Amazon’s upcoming “Prime Day,” a one-day event happening on July 15th which will offer Black Friday-like sales and savings for Prime subscribers in nine countries, including the U.S. Walmart’s own membership-based savings program called ShippingPass, an Amazon Prime competitor of sorts, is still in limited trials, so instead the company has responded to “Prime Day” by dropping the minimum order requirements to qualify for free shipping across the board, as well as plans to offer its own discounted products.
Beginning today, customers only have to order $35 worth of merchandise online, down from the previous requirement of $50, says Walmart.
The company notes that the free shipping requirements are being put into place “until further notice,” which implies that this is a lengthier promotion, if not a permanent one. Walmart hints that it could be limited to just this summer, however, in an announcement. We understand it will last for at least 30 days.
It’s an interesting promotion in light of Walmart’s ShippingPass service, whose value is largely based on allowing customers to save on online orders without having to first buy $50 worth of goods. ShippingPass testers have so far been able to order products across a number of categories, including Baby, Clothing, Electronics, Health & Beauty and more, without any order minimums and then receive those items in three days’ time. Walmart had been testing the service at a price point of $50 per year – cheaper than Amazon Prime, but without the other associated Prime benefits and an extra day of shipping
However, if Walmart decides to keep its minimum order requirement at $35 indefinitely, that could make ShippingPass less compelling to potential subscribers (assuming it goes public), as it’s far less difficult to build a $35 basket than a $50 one.
In addition to the lowered order requirements for free shipping, Walmart is also more directly competing with “Prime Day” by announcing its own online deals on July 15th – a move that makes Amazon’s version of Black Friday feel more like a real Black Friday event as it’s now expanding to other retailers.
According to Walmart, the company will begin offering “thousands” of rollback specials on July 15th along with some special “atomic deals.” The latter is Walmart lingo for special time-limited deals, but the company isn’t announcing the details on either these rollbacks or the atomic deals until Wednesday. Because of that, it’s unclear if the retailer is offering anything that’s significantly cheaper than its typical price drops, or if any of the deals are designed to directly counter Amazon’s own upcoming specials. Walmart’s rollbacks typically last 90 days, but with thousands more being added online on Wednesday alongside the atomic deals, it will have an increased lineup of promotions on its e-commerce storefront.
The company says the deals will fall in categories that are important to its customers, including electronics, home, baby and toys. Walmart isn’t the only retailer to launch a response to “Prime Day.” FreeShipping.com today announced a July 15th cashback promotion on its site which links to over 1,000 retailers. Meanwhile, Target is hosting a “Black Friday in July” event this week, as well.