Walmart and Amazon trade shots
Last week, Amazon.com announced the launch of Prime Day, a sales event for Prime members offering even more deals than Black Friday. As widely expected, Walmart has answered back with a sales event of its own and, listening to the retailer, you might think it’s doing so as an act of retail mercy.
"We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale. But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us," wrote Fernando Madeira, president and CEO of Walmart.com, in a company blog.
"We’re kicking off some awesome deals this week that will be available for everybody with no hidden costs or admission fees, and they won’t be available for just one day. Our customers will see thousands of great deals on Rollback beginning this week along with some special atomic deals (more on that in the days to come)," he added.
Mr. Madeira also announced Walmart.com was rolling back its minimum from $50 to $35 for customers to qualify for free shipping.
While Walmart was chiding Amazon for running a sales event just for its Prime members, it has been testing a shipping membership program of its own. The test, codenamed Tahoe, is said to offer free three-day shipping to members who pay an annual fee of $50. It is not known if Walmart’s program will come with the kind of additional perks, such as streaming video and free e-books, offered by Amazon.
Amazon didn’t let Walmart’s chastisement go unanswered. According to a CNET report, Amazon said "some retailers" have been known to charge higher prices in their stores than online.
"The idea of charging your in-store customers more than your online customers doesn’t add up for us, but it’s a good reminder that you’re usually better off shopping online," said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, in a statement.
Walmart is not the only large chain running a big sale this month. Target’s "Black Friday in July" sale continues through Monday. Best Buy’s July Black Friday event is scheduled for July 24 and 25.
While Christmas and Black Friday in July events have been going on for years, the current crop of sales seems more competitively intense with the addition of Amazon’s Prime Day and Walmart’s response. Is it possible 2015 may represent the beginning of a change in consumer spending with mid-July taking on greater significance for the top and bottom lines of retailers?
- Why Everyday is Low Price Day at Walmart – Walmart Today
- Walmart offers rival sale to Amazon’s Prime Day – CNET
- Walmart launches rival sale to Amazon’s Prime Day – USA Today
- Walmart delivery plan to undercut Amazon Prime – RetailWire
Which retailer do you think will come out ahead of the competition this month sparked by Amazon’s Prime Day? Do you see the increased focus on sales in July leading to a change in consumer shopping behavior in the years ahead?