The brands are fighting it out over who gets to wear the e-commerce crown.
Amazon announced last week that it would be investing $800 million into its shipping infrastructure. It will be doing this in order to offer one-day shipping to all of its Prime customers for free. Walmart has been working hard over the last couple of years to secure its own place among the list of e-commerce giants that are ruling the world these days. The company previously created a system that would offer fast shipping, comparable to Amazon’s Prime program, for less. Now that Amazon has upped the ante with free one-day shipping for all Prime members, Walmart will have to make another leap in order to compete.
Walmart has been a massive name in American commerce for decades now. Amazon, which started as an online book seller back in the early 1990’s, has only been at the forefront of American consumerism for a few years now. The arrival of Amazon Prime, however, changed the way Americans would purchase products significantly. Many experts even go so far as to blame the company for the alleged retail apocalypse, which has seen thousands of closures on the brick and mortar front. Through thick and thin, though, Walmart has fought hard to remain a household name.
Some of the ways in which Walmart has worked to maintain its income over the last few years is changing its business plan to accommodate millennial shoppers. The company has invested in influencer marketing with some of its more popular brands. It’s also changed its social media strategy, creating a brand that’s more identifiable among a younger demographic. Finally, it’s employed the use of robots in many of its stores as a way to cut back on labor costs. This also allows more human employees to work on improving customer experience. However, the in-store robots have earned the company some criticism over possible job losses throughout its stores.
The fight for the fastest shipping is one that many can get behind. Amazon Prime’s new goal to make one-day shipping available to all of its customers as soon as possible has pushed other e-commerce giants to be able to do the same. Just days after Amazon’s announcement, Walmart tweeted a passive aggressive tweet about one-day shipping to suggest that the company was about to one up Amazon once again. “One-day free shipping … without a membership fee. Now THAT would be groundbreaking. Stay Tuned,” the tweet read.
Since Walmart has been offering free two-day shipping on all orders over $35 for a couple of years now, shoppers can expect some sort of business model to come in the recent future. E-commerce giants have been trying to perfect a plan for one-day shipping for years now. Whichever company can do it the best, the fastest, will be able to stay on top. As of right now Walmart’s shipping policies aren’t necessarily profitable, but consumers love the freedom of no membership fees.
That being said it’s hard to beat Amazon’s massive catalog and one-click purchase button. Can another e-commerce company complete with this type of ease? We’ll see.