The New York Post
February 22, 2017
Jeff Bezos isn’t usually a follower.
But over Presidents Day weekend, the founder and chief executive of Amazon quietly lowered to $35 from $49 the minimum spend required to get free shipping.
The discounted price just happened to match Walmart’s minimum.
And while Amazon in the past has revved its marketing machine to high to get the word out on such a move, there wasn’t a press release or announcement to let the world know of the most recent price cut.
“This is one of the first times we’ve seen a real reactionary response by Amazon,” said Sarah Engel, senior vice president of DynamicAction, a retail analytics firm.
“Amazon did this without fanfare, and when they have a change that impacts the customer positively, they are very vocal about it.”
Bezos’ move comes as Walmart begins to reignite its e-commerce growth, five months after acquiring online delivery service Jet.com for $3 billion.
On Tuesday, Walmart reported a 29 percent spike in its e-commerce sales in the three months ended Jan. 31.
While Amazon’s 2016 revenues of $136 billion are 10 times Walmart’s e-commerce sales, estimated to be about $13 billion, the discount chain seems to have recent gotten its online mojo.
“We’re moving with speed to become more of a digital enterprise,” Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We had a very solid fourth quarter.”
Walmart’s US same-store sales rose 1.8 percent in the quarter; total sales were up 1 percent, to $130.9 billion.
Still, “Walmart is a much more formidable competitor to Amazon than it was just two years ago,” said Edward D. Jones & Co. analyst Brian Yarbrough.
While Amazon went toe-to-toe with Walmart on its free shipping price, it did not match the discounter’s delivery speed.
Amazon customers will get their purchases in five to eight business days, while Walmart customers are promised two-day delivery.
Amazon Prime customers, who pay a $99 annual fee, get two-day free shipping.
“Amazon has been leading this race for some time,” Engel said, pointing out that the shipping tweak “doesn’t really one-up Walmart.”
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