The War Between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Shipping Pass Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime Heats Up

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The race for customers is heating up as customers shift even more from in-store buying to online shopping. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has dominated the e-commerce space for years, but as it appears, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is not ready to give it a free pass just yet.

ShippingPass is Walmart’s answer to Amazon Prime as it moves to take its fierce rival head on in the race for consumer dollars. First introduced in 2005, the new membership service is set to make its debut as a pilot program in the coming weeks.

Choosing which program to subscribe to when faced with an online shopping dilemma will come down to shipping costs, membership restrictions as well as other benefits on offer.

Free shipping

Amazon offers free shipping for orders worth more than $50 while Walmart offers free shipping for offers worth more than $49.

Walmart seems to have the upper hand when it comes to delivery times on free shipping. The nation’s largest retailer promises delivery times of between four and six days verses five to eight days for its rival of which membership is not required.

A two-day delivery option by both retailers is however limited to customers subscribed to both Amazon Prime and ShippingPass.

 Standard Shipping Costs

Walmart charges a standard shipping cost of $4.97 per order, for goods less than $50 and takes three to five days in the US. Amazon on the other hand charges between $3.99 and $4.49 for orders less than $50. Delivery time is usually 14 days. For expedited shipping that usually takes two to six days the retailer charges between $6.19 and $6.99.

Shipping Restrictions

Both retailers come with strict restrictions on the kind of goods eligible for free shipping to both members and nonmembers. Amazon for instance offers accelerated shipping to products marked as Prime-eligible. Orders going outside the US are also not covered in the two-day shipping policy.

Walmart, on the other hand, offers two-day shipping depending on inventory availability and shipping address. Two-day shipping is also only eligible to products offered by the retailer and not third parties.

Additional Perks

Given that ShippingPass is still in beta, Amazon Prime seems to have the upper hand on the kind of extra perks on offer to customers who sign up for the $99 a year program. Free same day delivery on eligible products worth more than $35 is one of the benefits on offer.

Amazon Prime members also stand to gain access to free movies as well as Music and Kindle e-books. It remains  to be seen which additional benefits Walmart will offer as part of ShippingPass.

Bottom Line

Amazon seems to have the upper hand when it comes to shipping of goods around the US and overseas. Impressive delivery speeds supplemented by extra benefits and a wide array of products puts it ahead of Wal-Mart Stores, which is only getting started.

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