If you’ve been keeping an eye on business news lately, you’ve probably already heard about Amazon and its plans to employ one-day shipping, which threw the market into a state of chaos just by way of announcement. Walmart’s stocks dropped a bit just due to Amazon’s announcement to go through with this, and it was made pretty obvious that they would have to respond in kind if they wanted to keep up.
After all, Amazon has ushered the competitive market into the next stage of the eternal race for dominance. Thanks to Amazon promising the quickest delivery of any company before it, the stage has been set for the battleground that is the mad dash to match it. Every major company that includes a delivery service is now feeling the pressure to at least get close to Amazon’s new delivery time, lest they be abandoned by customers in favor of the speedier Amazon service.
Walmart knows this better than anyone since it is one of Amazon’s few major competitors. The company is launching its own free next day delivery program for over 220,000 items in its stock. Obviously this helps elevate the brick and mortar stores to a place of competition with Amazon, but they’ve now put even more pressure on companies that have yet to do the same.
Of course it’s worth noting that there’s a lot of caveats to this, since it wouldn’t be to Walmart’s benefit to offer something so great for absolutely everything. While free next day shipping will be available for nearly twice the amount of items that are even available in their physical stores, it will only be available for purchases that are $35 or greater. Furthermore, this free next day shipping will only be initially available in Phoenix Arizona and Los Angeles. It will of course expand to other parts of the US over time, but the fact that it is initially limited still stands.
Whether or not this will ultimately allow Walmart to truly compete with Amazon remains a mystery. Amazon is a global company that ships all over the world, while Walmart is mostly limited to one country. On the other hand, Walmart has far more of physical presence in the US, with nearly five thousand brick and mortar stores that it has done a great job of converting into transportation and delivery hubs. That physical presence is something Amazon just doesn’t have, and could give Walmart some degree of advantage.
Ultimately though, it is obvious that customer’s expectations are going to rise; with some of the biggest retailers ensuring rapid delivery, smaller companies are going to be pressured to find ways to do the same. Companies could even begin to receive flak for having something as ‘untimely’ as two day delivery. Whether or not something like this will actually come to pass is speculation, but it seems likely considering that consumers expect a certain level of quality across the board.