Wal-Mart is offering a new way to save in stores starting April 19.
The world's largest retailer will begin giving a pickup discount on more than 10,000 items ordered on Walmart.com and shipped to stores, the company announced.
Wal-Mart says it plans to expand the discounts, which vary from a few dollars on toys to $50 on HDTVs, to more than a million items by June. The company can offer the discount by saving on shipping costs. The new program joins Wal-Mart’s convenient free online grocery pickup service, which the company says it plans on expanding to 600 more stores this year.
"Wal-Mart is creating price transparency to empower customers to shop smarter and choose what’s best for them. Now, they can either pick up and save even more money, or ship two-day for free to home, without paying for a membership," Marc Lore, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce operations, wrote in a blog post. The membership fee reference underscores that Amazon charges $99 a year to get free two-day shipping on items.
Examples of savings include a $7.40 discount on a $149 Britax infant car seat, $2.55 off a $23.99 LEGO City Great Vehicles Ferry toy and $4.46 in savings on a $111 Coleman marine cooler.
The new discount is an incentive for savings-minded online shoppers to visit stores, which gives the Bentonville, Ark., retailer an advantage over Amazon.com, its largest competitor. Wal-Mart has nearly 5,000 stores where more than 140 million people shop each week. Amazon doesn't.
Love it or hate it, Wal-Mart usually has the cheapest prices. It has been bulking up its e-commerce arsenal, hoovering up online retailers that have millennial appeal and share its low-price ethos. In September the retailer acquired Jet.com, founded by Lore, for $3 billion, along with vintage-inspired clothier ModCloth.com, ShoeBuy.com and MooseJaw.com, which sells outdoor goods. On the flip side, Amazon, the No. 1 online retailer, is testing brick-and-mortar concepts.
Watching the two companies duke it out for dominance highlights how the internet and mobile technology has changed consumer shopping habits. Wal-Mart, whose online sales soared 29 percent in the fourth quarter, has recognized an important lesson about retailing in the internet age: Integrate and streamline the online and in-store shopping experience or die.
This schlepp-and-save approach offers customers another reason to shop at Wal-Mart.