Amazon customers might just have a new reason to shop at Walmart.com instead of using Amazon Prime.
The traditional brick-and-mortar retailer has introduced free two-day shipping to rival one of Amazon Prime's best benefits.
As of today (Jan. 31), shipping will be free, without an annual fee, as long as you spend $35 or more on the millions of items that qualify, and place your order before 2 PM in the time zone of the delivery destination, according to the Walmart website.
Previously, Walmart.com shoppers had to pay $49 a year for a "ShippingPass" to get unlimited two-day shipping, and would have to reach a cart total of $50.
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Amazon Prime customers currently need to pay $99 a year or $10.99 a month to get free two-day shipping on items listed as Prime eligible or free same-day or one-day shipping on a more limited number of items. (A Prime subscription is cheaper for students, at $49.)
With Walmart, two days are counted as soon as your order has shipped though, not from the time you place your order, and it'll be shipped in two business days, not including weekends and holidays. Packages sent via Amazon's free two-day shipping can arrive on Saturdays and Sundays.
The new free shipping program from Walmart comes after the company acquired discount shopping site Jet.com last fall.
Problem is, whether you choose 5 Day Shipping or Instant Shipping, they sit on the order for 5 days before they ship it. I think it's disingenuous of Amazon to sell special "fast" shipping programs when they neglect to mention that it can take forever before the order goes out the door. No, you're not going to get it in 2 days, Grasshopper.
My proposal is that Amazon shouldn't charge your credit card, or otherwise take your money, until your order is shipped. Maybe that would motivate them to process orders with a little more alacrity.