Walmart is expanding its next-day delivery service before the start of back-to-school shopping season.
The retailer is adding more than a dozen new states that will receive the service, including in parts of Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Wisconsin. It originally launched in May for customers in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California, and Walmart previously revealed that it wants to reach about three-quarters of the U.S. by the end of the year.
Walmart introduced next-day service in an effort to compete with Amazon, which said it would spend $800 million to slash delivery times from two days to one for its millions of Prime customers.
“Amazon has a larger catalog and, thus, can deliver more products next day, but Walmart refuses to lag behind,” said Juozas Kaziukėnas, founder of Marketplace Pulse, according to Bloomberg. “They are on a mission to make Walmart as good as Amazon without paying for a Prime membership.”
Walmart’s next-day delivery is available for customers who spend $35 or more. Orders are shipped in one box to address complaints from customers about receiving multiple boxes. Last month, Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S., said customers will only be able to choose next-day shipping if the product is in a warehouse close to their homes, enabling it to be shipped via ground. As a result, Lore said, there is no “incremental investment we need to do [for] next day.”
The retailer also hopes that next-day delivery will boost its eCommerce sales. While still small, it is fast-growing, with eCommerce sales in the U.S. increasing 40 percent in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31. Walmart has predicted online sales in the U.S. to grow about 35 percent in 2019, according to a recent report. However, the U.S. digital operation is estimated to lose more this year than it did in 2018.