The Walmart vs. Amazon fight for retail domination
just escalated. Not one to let Amazon steal the sales spotlight, Walmart will
launch a rival sale Wednesday to Amazon's recently announced Prime Day,
including more than 2,000 online exclusive "rollbacks," Walmart's
word for discounts. The lower prices on items in categories including electronics,
home, baby and toys will last 90 days, the typical time period for rollbacks,
which Walmart usually has hundreds of at any given time throughout the year.
Starting Monday, Walmart is also reducing the minimum order for free shipping
from $50 to $35 for at least 30 days.
Walmart called out Amazon for making its lower prices on
Prime Day available only to Prime members, who pay $99 a year to be part of the
service that offers free two-day shipping and access to video streaming and
music. In addition to the rollbacks and lower free shipping minimum, Walmart
also promises "some special atomic deals," with more details to come
Last week, Amazon announced that Prime Day — scheduled for
July 15 and billed as a blowout sale bigger than Black Friday — would be held
in honor of the e-commerce company's 20th anniversary. It will include
thousands of deals, with new ones as often as every 10 minutes, said Julie Law,
an Amazon spokeswoman.
Walmart has been going up against Amazon on multiple fronts
recently as the retailers compete for customers and sales. In May, Walmart said
it would start testing a Prime-like service this summer, offering unlimited,
free three-day shipping to customers for $50 a year. While Walmart has been
America's dominant retailer for decades, crushing other chains
like Kmart and threatening local grocery businesses as it expanded
its fresh and frozen food offering, it's been playing catch-up with Amazon when
it comes to the Web.
Walmart saw foot traffic in U.S. stores fall for about a year
before trending back up during the most recent holiday shopping season. As of
the first quarter, foot traffic was up 1% in U.S. stores. Other retailers are
also trying to drive customer traffic with Black Friday-inspired sales planned
for the summer, a trend that's been going on for several years. Target's
"Black Friday in July" runs through Monday and included more deals
over more days than ever, according to Target spokeswoman Amy Joiner. Target
has been doing a summer Black Friday sale since 2010.
Best Buy has a Black Friday sale planned for July 24-25, the
third year it has co-opted the holiday season shopping moniker in warmer
months. While the idea of turning Black Friday into a year-round sale may not
be new, those words still push people to shop on days they otherwise wouldn't,
said Kathy Allen, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.
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