Walmart Enters Free Shipping Fray
Walmart.com is looking to one-up its online competitors
with a new free shipping deal in the run-up to Christmas, according to The
New York Times.
The free shipping deal, which will run through Dec. 20,
will extend to 60,000 gift items and will not require a minimum purchase. Items
pictured on the Walmart.com home page that are part of the offer include HDTVs,
laptops, camcorders, home theater systems, photo gifts and musical instruments.
Other categories include entertainment furniture, fragrances, personalized
jewelry and toys.
"Everyone’s trying to figure out how we can serve a customer that’s
trying to save every penny they can," Steve Nave, senior vice president
and general manager of Walmart.com, told the Times. "It’s
the most competitive offer out there, and we’re pretty excited about
The move by Walmart comes as many others have offered special shipping
deals as a means to spur sales.
Interestingly, Walmart has said it will not
put pressure on shipping companies to absorb some of the costs associated with
providing free shipping on so many items. The retailer also said it was not
raising prices to help offset costs.
Mr. Nave said items selected for free shipping
were those most likely to be given as gifts. He also said he expected that
the company would likely continue to offer similar programs beyond the holiday
Other retailers that offer free shipping before Christmas find they
are unable to maintain the program year-round.
"We’d love to be able to offer free shipping, but free shipping
free," said Laurie Brooks, a spokesperson for L.L. Bean, told the Times. "It
does cost a company money."
Discussion Questions: What will Walmart’s free shipping program mean in the
competition for online sales this holiday season? How can smaller retailers compete
in an environment of free shipping offers and subscription programs such as Amazon
- Wal-Mart Says ‘Try This On’: Free Shipping – The New York Times
- Free Shipping to Your Home on Great Holiday Gifts – Walmart.com