Walmart’s marketplace items get free 2-day shipping, in-store returns

With Fulfillment by Amazon, marketplace sellers can make their products eligible for Amazon Prime’s 2-day shipping. Today, Walmart is catching up on this front. The retailer today announced it’s expanding its 2-day shipping to the millions of products offered by its own marketplace sellers. This expansion will roll out in the months ahead, alongside a process for simpler returns on marketplace purchases.

Walmart first launched free, 2-day shipping across millions of products back in January 2017, for orders that were over $35. The move was meant to challenge Amazon Prime, as all it required was a minimum purchase – not an annual membership fee.

Now, that same shipping option will be made available across Walmart’s marketplace, too.

The company says it will initially work with its hundreds of “high-performing” sellers to introduce free, two-day shipping across their eligible items in the U.S. This is being announced today, but will roll out more broadly in the coming months, Walmart notes.

The company tells us it’s implementing 2-day shipping in a number of ways.

It’s enabling it for sellers with their own internal capabilities and it’s introducing the ability to implement geographical settings so two-day shipping is available for specific areas based on the location of an individual seller’s fulfillment network, it says.

Plus, Walmart is working with third-party providers to help fulfill the items, such as Deliverr.

In addition to two-day shipping, Walmart is simplifying returns for items bought through its online marketplace by offering an easier way to manage online returns. Customers will now be able to log into their account and print out a return label to ship items directly back to sellers.

But shipping isn’t always the easiest way to manage returns. That’s where the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores will come in. Starting in mid-November, customers will be able to return their eligible marketplace purchases in Walmart stores at the Services desk.

Previously, Walmart’s own items could be returned in store, but not those bought from third-party sellers.

Walmart says that 140 million customers shop its stores weekly, and 90% of Americans today live within 10 miles of one of its locations.

With this change, Walmart will facilitate the return of marketplace items by shipping items back to sellers on the customer’s behalf. The customer will then receive a refund from the seller.

This service will be available at all of Walmart’s 4,700 stores, the retailer notes.