business news in context, analysis with attitude

Internet Retailer reports that Amazon has dropped the minimum purchase to assure free shipping for non-Prime members to $35 - just a year after it raised the minimum to $49 from $35.

The move, the story says, "comes three weeks after Wal-Mart dropped its ShippingPass program and offered free shipping on online orders of $35 or more ... ShippingPass was a $49 annual subscription came with free two-day shipping on all online orders with no minimum."

The story goes on: "There are differences between Amazon’s $35 free shipping threshold and Wal-Mart’s. Amazon promises all orders within five to eight business days, while Wal-Mart promises to have your order delivered within two to five days.

"Another differentiator between the two retailers’ offerings: The number of products that qualify. An Amazon spokeswoman says there are more than 50 million items available on its site that are eligible for free shipping. Wal-Mart has more than 2 million products eligible for free shipping."
KC's View:
Make no mistake. The battle is joined, and there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. Because everything that Amazon and Walmart do in their battle against each other also is going to have an impact on broader consumer expectations and what other retailers have to do in order to compete for their attention and dollars.