Walmart’s two-day deliveries inventory is about to get a lot bigger.
The world’s largest retailer said Monday it’s adding millions more items to Walmart.com’s two-day shipping program starting next month, just ahead of the holiday shopping season. Walmart’s website offers over 75 million products, with millions of them already available for free two-day shipping, so long as a customer spends at least $35.
Walmart was able to significantly expand its two-day shipping program with the help of third-party merchants who list their items on Walmart.com. Some of these sellers are big enough that they’re already able to offer two-day shipping across the country; in those cases, Walmart is flagging their items as being available for two-day deliveries.
Smaller sellers who want to join the two-day shipping program will be able to team up with third-party shippers, including Deliverr. Those sellers can also offer two-day shipping in only some parts of the country. Plus, customers will for the first time be able to return some of these outside merchants’ items in stores.
Walmart’s announcement is another sign of its expanding ambitions online, with the company already refreshing its website, expanding its virtual inventory and scooping up several e-commerce companies. The efforts have been paying off, with the company expecting online sales to grow by 40 percent this year.
Amazon set the standard for two-day shipping through its Prime membership program, but Walmart may be able to set itself apart by offering two-day shipping without a membership fee. Amazon increased Prime’s annual cost to $119 earlier this year.
Walmart’s announcement follows similar moves from Amazon and eBay, which both have already created similar shipping partnerships with their outside sellers.
While Walmart’s new effort should help it compete more effectively against Amazon this holiday, it will likely have to move even faster to keep up. Amazon has already moved into same-day deliveries and expanded its Prime Now shipping service, which can deliver goods in a few hours in many cities.