Walmart Takes on Amazon with Free Shipping for Sam's Club Members

Updated

Walmart is doing everything it can to attract new shoppers and dethrone its archrival, Amazon.

The brick-and-mortar retailer just announced that Sam's Club shoppers will now receive free shippingwith no minimum purchase required when they become Sam's Club Plus members. Sam's Club — along with retailers Jet.com, Bonobos and Moosejaw — are subsidiaries of Walmart, and the new free-shipping announcement is the latest move in the retailer's ongoing battle with Amazon.

Plus membership costs $100 per year — a buck more than Amazon Prime. It doesn't include the same types of perks that Amazon Prime members get, but it does offer discounts on gasoline, tire and battery repairs, and some prescriptions, among other benefits.

Walmart also announced that it's reducing the number of Sam's Club membership tiers from three to just two: Plus membership is $100 per year, and Club membership(formerly Sam's Savings) is $45 per year. The latter includes fewer perks than Plus membership.

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There is a small catch, however. Sam's Club isn't promising two-day shipping like Amazon Prime. In addition, certain items — like groceries, curbside pickup items and products purchased via a third party — will not qualify for free shipping.

The announcement comes at an interesting time, as the retailer just shuttered 63 of its clubs, which amounts to roughly 10 percent of its warehouses. Some of these closed warehouses will now become distribution centers for Sam's Club. The first center is expected to open within six weeks, in Memphis, Tennessee.

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