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Walmart Takes a Stand on Holiday Shipping

Walmart is not bowing to pressure from some other retailers when it comes to holiday shipping deals. The retail chain told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday it would continue with its normal policy of free shipping on orders that exceed $50 rather than offering free shipping on all orders during the holidays.

The newspaper wrote that the company is counting on shoppers who want to avoid shipping charges to pick up online orders in-store or in store parking lots, “services the retailer expanded rapidly in recent months.”

Best Buy meanwhile had announced on Monday it would provide free shipping with no minimum order required on orders through January 2, 2016, and others may follow.

Walmart is also eschewing “pricing games.” In a statement issued yesterday, it unveiled its holiday strategy: easier shopping every day. “Walmart is promising customers low prices and one-of-a-kind convenience on a product assortment hand-picked based on current customer trends.”

On Sunday, it kicks off eight weeks of “deep savings and holiday retailtainment.”

“With more than 140 million customers each week and an expected more than 210 million visits to its app in November and December – up from 18 million in 2013 – Walmart is forecasting the most integrated holiday shopping season ever. Powered by more than 4,500 stores, millions of additional items online and a best-in-class fulfillment network, the retailer will serve customers like only Walmart can.”

Saying that “high-low retailers and pricing games have led to frustrated holiday shoppers who second-guess their purchase decisions throughout the season,” Walmart promised more Rollbacks that last at least 90 days and fewer “this weekend only” holiday offers.

With nearly 75 percent of traffic to Walmart.com expected to come from a mobile device this holiday season, the company is launching Mobile Check In – customers can check in using their phone when they arrive to pick up their online order. And it’s launching Scan and Shop with Wish Lists: “For the first time, customers can scan items in store to build a Wish List or search for someone else’s list by using the Walmart app.

The company also posted a message for customers on the Walmart blog on Thursday.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.