PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Move over Amazon Prime. Walmart.com may be coming after you.
Call it “a battle of the giants.”
Amazon is number one for online shopping, but now Walmart, which offers online many of the same products you find in their stores, plans to test free shipping year-round for a one-time annual $50 fee, nearly half of Amazon Prime’s $99 charge.
“Fifty bucks is very reasonable for someone who shops online quite a bit because a lot of people are very busy,” says Prof. Audrey Guskey of Duquesne University. “You got working moms, you got professionals out there, who are during lunchtime shopping, and then they want the stuff delivered to their home.”
Walmart spokesperson Ravi Jariwala says initially only certain invited customers will be part of a test-run of this service, saying in a statement to KDKA, “We will have a closed beta this summer by invitation to test an unlimited shipping program that is predictable and affordable – just $50 per year. Again, this is a closed beta, and customer feedback will direct how the program evolves.”
So what’s a closed beta?
“They’re going to pick select customers, probably their best customers, and then offer them this opportunity and see how it works,” explained Guskey.
Merlin McGuire uses Amazon Prime but likes the Walmart option.
“It’s half the price so sounds pretty good,” says McGuire.
And shipping costs matter to some.
“When they have free shipping or low shipping, it’s worth it than going out shopping,” adds Robin Gwardzinski of South Park.
But not everyone agrees.
“Since I can go to Walmart, I don’t know that I would need to pay the $50 to do online shopping that I can do right here,” says Walmart shopper Jean Demeis of Peters Township.