Walmart said Tuesday (Oct. 23) it is expanding the free two-day shipping option on millions of items sold by third-party marketplaces on Walmart.com. The move come after the retail giant launched two-day shipping on orders of millions of items it sells and fulfills. While Walmart says there is no membership fee the retailer does require a minimum order of $35 to get the free two-day shipping.
In addition to expanding the two-day shipping option, Walmart said beginning Nov. 1 its 4,700 stores will also take returns from items sold by third-party marketplaces on Walmart.com. Walmart unveiled the service at its U.S. stores this summer with the promise to expand it for marketplace in the future.
Analysts say consumers will order more often online from retailers that provide free shipping and, more importantly, easy returns. With a Walmart store within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, the retailer is suited for the service. Reverse supply chain has not been a focus for many retailers and it remains to be seen how this move will impact suppliers and third-party sellers from a cost perspective. The refund time is also a sticking point for consumers. Walmart said it will send the item back to the seller and the seller will refund the consumer directly.
Amazon will refund its Prime members for the return shipment long before it receives it into its warehouse. The return itself is not free in most cases for Prime members, but it did partner with Kohl’s to take returns in select stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.