Merchant Innovation

Walmart Primed To Challenge Amazon Prime

Walmart may be best known for its sprawling brick-and-mortar stores, while Amazon is considered the online commerce king. But the two are competing head-to-head in their quest to offer consumers the cheapest, fastest shopping experience, with Walmart making recent reinforcements of its online commerce services, and Amazon getting its own physical location in New York City.

Walmart, however, has just upped the ante for the competition between the two. Reports said Wednesday (May 13) that the retailer is gearing up to launch its own version of Amazon Prime. First reported by The Information, Walmart has reportedly codenamed the new service “Tahoe.” The company later confirmed a new shipping subscription service in the works, which will cost $50 a year.

The service will ship products to shoppers in three days or fewer, and will be available for more than 1 million products. For now, however, Walmart’s Tahoe is available by invite only. Reports said that Tahoe was initially poised for launch ahead of last year’s gift-giving season, but delays have pushed the full release date to somewhere around early summer this year.

“We’ve heard from customers that they want shipping that’s predictable and shipping that’s affordable,” Walmart spokesperson Ravi Jariwala said in confirming the new service. “We think there is an opportunity to put a price point that’s affordable in front of them.

While analysts are anticipating Tahoe to be one of the most rigorous attacks on Amazon’s eCommerce dominance to date, Walmart has a tough fight ahead. Amazon released its 2015 first quarter figures last month, revealing that Amazon Prime — which costs $99 a year but offers two-day shipping — saw a 47 percent increase in the number of products compatible with the service compared to the year prior.

Amazon recently added a new, non-physical offering to Amazon Prime, an ad-free online radio streaming service called Prime Stations, to go along with its Prime Music product launched last summer.

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