Richmond Times-Dispatch

Walmart drops minimum for onlinememb­er orders

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Shoppers on Walmart. com who pay a $98-a-year membership fee will get free shipping on orders of any size starting Friday.

Walmart announced the membership perk on Wednesday, doing away with a previous requiremen­t that orders had to amount to at least $35 to qualify for free shipping.

The perk comes two months after Walmart launched its membership service called Walmart+, which it hopes will compete with Amazon’s Prime membership program.

Walmart+ members will receive free next-day and two-day shipping on nonperisha­ble items shipped by Walmart, no matter the purchase amount.

The move builds on the retailer’s pledge to continue adding benefits to its membership program, which also includes unlimited free grocery deliveries and fuel discounts.

However, delivery directly from Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores on basic items like fresh groceries will still carry a $35 minimum and can come as soon as the same day.

Walmart has a ways to go to catch up with Amazon Prime. Launched in 2005, Prime has more than 150 million members worldwide who pay $119 a year, or $12.99 a month, for faster shipping and other perks, such as discounts at Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarke­ts.

Walmart’s online sales are soaring as more people order groceries online and pick them up at a store as a way to stay safe during the pandemic.

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