Walmart Takes a Swing at Amazon, Says a $99 Membership Shouldn’t be Required to Get Free Shipping

Retailer touts free shipping in new holiday spot

Walmart took a jab at competitor Amazon. Getty Images, Amazon
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Walmart knows that when it comes to retail it has a major competitor in Amazon. It’s no surprise then, that the ecommerce giant is top of mind: Walmart svp and CMO Tony Rogers gave the audience at the ANA’s Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Fla., a sneak peek at the company’s upcoming holiday spot which touts free shipping.

“Free shipping two-day for orders over $35,” said Rogers, after showing the upcoming new spot (Walmart declined to send Adweek the new ad, as it won’t be released for a few weeks). “No membership fee because, you know, we just don’t think you should have to pay $99 a year for the privilege of free shipping.”

The Amazon swipe is just one part of a larger brand positioning strategy: During Rogers’ ANA presentation he made it clear that he wants Walmart to be known for “innovation” and “evolution,” highlighting Walmart’s new partnership with Google (which will enable customers to shop with their voice), online grocery ordering in 1,000 stores (Walmart plans to roll this out in more stores soon), new delivery methods (including Uber), and even automated pick-up kiosks that will feed customers their orders with the touch of a button.

Rogers also noted that over the last two quarters Walmart has seen 60 percent growth in ecommerce.

But even with the shipping dig, Rogers cautioned that the innovation isn’t just to compete with Amazon: “Customers want more time and they want more money. Those customer needs are really the epicenter of all of the innovation and strategy work that’s happening. It’s not so much about chasing one competitor or mimic what our competitors are doing, it’s about putting the customer at the center and innovating to improve their lives. We’re just at the beginning here of seeing a steady stream of innovation from [Walmart].”

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.