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Walmart is dropping the minimum order requirement for its Express Delivery service as it races to gain a competitive edge over rival Amazon Prime in the fast-growing e-commerce sector.
Effective immediately, customers will no longer have to pay a $35 minimum in order to receive food and merchandise in under two hours, the Arkansas-based retailer announced Monday.
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"Customers told us sometimes the items they needed in a hurry didn’t meet the minimum, so we’re removing it, making it even easier for customers to get what they need when they need it," Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president of customer product, said.
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The company accelerated the development of its Express service to nearly 1,000 stores in early May when widespread lockdowns kept virus-weary consumers at home and out of stores.
Since then, the service, one of several contact pickup and delivery options, has been made available at nearly 3,000 Walmart stores, effectively reaching nearly 70% of the U.S. population, according to the retailer.
The service gives Walmart shoppers access to more than 160,000 items including groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics.
However, customers still have to pay the $10 fee on top of the existing delivery charge in order to receive packages in the two-hour window.
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The service builds upon contract-free curbside pickup and delivery options, all of which still carry the $35 minimum.
The retailer's website and app can help customers figure out if the Express service is available in their area.
The company's latest move will help to lure in more homebound shoppers vying for convenience amid the pandemic. It also comes as the retailer continues to compete with Amazon and others to expand fresh-food delivery. Walmart had already launched its Walmart + subscription service last fall for $98 a year or $12.95 a month.
The program just barely undercuts Amazon's paid subscription service, which launched more than a decade ago. Amazon's Prime program, which entices shoppers through exclusive deals, faster shipping and streaming, costs $119 a year or $12.99 a month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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