Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed May 13 2015 20:52:58

Could Walmart's Version of Amazon Prime Hurt FBA Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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The industry is abuzz with news about a service Walmart is planning that will rival Amazon Prime. According to a site called The Information, the service was originally scheduled to launch last year before the holidays, but had to delay the launch over "technical and other issues."

As TechCrunch pointed out, Amazon Prime is today far more extensive than a free shipping service, offering free streaming video and music, unlimited photo storage, access to the Kindle Lending Library and more.

While it didn't launch the service last fall, Walmart did roll out a new price-matching policy, not only promising to match prices of online retailers, but including Amazon.com and its third-party merchants, and extending it to include purchases on Walmart.com.

At the time, a Wal-Mart spokesperson told EcommerceBytes Wal-Mart was committed to being the "everyday low-price leader across every retail channel for the long term."

However, the retailer didn't anticipate the "ingenuity" of shoppers who figured out to game the system by listing expensive items for sale on Amazon at low prices to get Walmart to match them.

Will Walmart have better luck with a free-shipping membership program? Will shoppers pony up $99 for Amazon Prime and $50 for a similar program from Walmart?

If the yet-to-be-launched shipping program from Walmart were to draw people away from Amazon Prime, it could impact sellers using Amazon's FBA fulfillment program. Let us know how likely you think that is and if it would affect your business.




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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 13 22:25:53 2015

There is a big difference between buying something from Amazon and something from WalMart.

We shop Amazon and use Prime. We just wave as we pass any WalMart store. They have nothing that we want. The quality at WalMart reminds me of the Chinese Junk sold on FleaBay.

And yes we do realize that maybe whatever it is we buy on Amazon might have originally come from WalMart.

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by: MADandCracked This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 00:19:42 2015

I have to agree with sasikat9. Wal-Mart has its shelves stocked with second quality products. Almost all my purchases are products sold by Amazon because Amazon won't put up with inferior products. Return shipping is too expensive and Wal-Mart won't last long because of it.

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by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 06:22:37 2015


I have to agree with the 1st two posters

I was on the road last week, and I need some materials to complete a project. As it happened there was a wal mart just down the road from my Hotel '

For the first time in over a decade I went in a wal mart

I was stunned at the Junk quality of virtually everything in the store , I was not expecting hi end merchandise to be sure, but the absolute 99 cent shop version of everything stunned me.

wal mart prices are NOT low , they re insanely high for the quality of the merchandise

Good luck trying to comptete with amazon

On the surface they may get a lot of business with similer looking merchandise , however their return rate will be astronomical





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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu May 14 06:56:09 2015

I don't shop at Walmart and I don't intend to start.  I don't find that Walmart is the low price leader that it claims to be (hasn't been for years) and I find that their customer service is horrendous.  I doubt if Amazon is concerned about this at all.

The last time I was in a Walmart I scanned some clearance items (mostly electronics), cross checking the prices of the items on Amazon. Those clearance priced items were double or triple the cost of what they were on Amazon.

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by: Reds This user has validated their user name.
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Thu May 14 07:18:26 2015

Wlmart does not just sell the junk from it's shelves online, they have started selling my complete product line of model ships on Wayfair. They sell at MAP pricing with free shipping. I guess they think they can make it up in volume. It has literally killed my online business along with Google Shopping. Worst year ever. Domination of the market by a few large companies is wrong!
I told myself years ago as long as I could find a niche Walmart did not sell I would be fine. Guess what? They can sell anything and shove it in a Wharehouse then send it to a store for FREE! Nothing surprises me with them.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu May 14 07:51:03 2015

Reds says "Domination of the market by a few large companies is wrong!"

It has been unfolding before our very eyes in the last few years.  It is very John D. Rockefeller, and very John D. (who appears to have cashed in another $8.6M in stock this week)

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by: PicasoX This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 10:43:44 2015

I go to Amazon for things I can't buy in Wal-Mart and I go to Wal-Mart for everyday things I don't need to buy online. I don't need to order from their website when I can just go buy it at a store now, today. Will Wal-Mart be offering free (2 Day) shipping? because shipping time would make a big difference to me. This may put pressure on Amazon's pricing when they get into the home goods market though.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu May 14 10:58:14 2015

eBay sellers are taking advantage of Amazon Prime

My last 2 eBay purchases came from Amazon fulfillment centers.

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by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 12:19:55 2015

wally world no thank you!!!!!! always more buyers than cashiers what would be different online and they pay the women very little useless company, another e**y

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by: sunworshpr This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 13:26:40 2015

Walmart has MANY of the SAME products as Amazon, with the same competitive pricing. Many of the items are online only. Orders placed online can be sent to the store for free pickup. There is a designated counter in the front area of the store strictly to retrieve online orders. No lines or dodging 300 other customers. No set amount you have to purchase for free pickup. The online pricing is significantly cheaper than the in-store pricing for the same item. I detest Walmart too, but not enough to not use this service when it saves me money. If they added a shipping service like Prime, it would be become even more attractive.

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by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 13:50:46 2015

Come on now. Walmart sells the same name-brand stuff as everyone else. With 'Savings Catcher', I can buy products like soda even when it's not on sale (err, rollback). Somebody in town will have it on sale for $1. We've got Sams and Walmart in the same plaza 2 miles from home. I can hit both stores using self-checkout in 30 minutes. I've never had trouble with a few returns each year. Walmart-brand small appliances are warrantied by the store. You don't have to send them anywhere. The prices are scary at a normal 'grocery store'. Many times the BOGO offers are still more than Walmart. The China junk is everywhere. You get what you pay for. Buy the best Walmart has to offer and you'll generally do well.

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by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 13:59:56 2015

ashes to ashes dust to dust if it was not for amazon our computers would rust.......we all know E**Y sales are gone

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu May 14 15:14:04 2015

Like many here, I enjoy (and use to the fullest) my Amazon Prime benefits.

I ''boycott'' Walmart for reasons other than the quality and price of their merchandise... instead, I disapprove of the way they treat their employees (wages, benefits, promotions, opportunities, etc.)

Walmart should take a look at Costco if they need guidance on how to treat employees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu May 14 15:37:40 2015

I like WalMart. I don't drive, and there's a WalMart a mile from me so it's easy to walk to. I have never found them to have inferior products, and if there's something I want that the store doesn't carry, they'll ship to the store for pick-up. A few years ago the one near me up-graded to include groceries, and they have more variety of brands than the Food 4 Less that I usually shop at.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu May 14 17:29:09 2015

Buyer Perspective:

Mr. Basset and I have grown up with the love-hate cycle.  Both of us come from small city mid-west - at a young age we watched as small mom & pops left one by one as they could not compete.  We thought Walmart was ugly.

Gradually, the only stores left were not really Walmart competition and they held their own until online sales killed them. (Are we sellers as guilty as Walmart when it comes to putting mom & pop out of business?)

Walmart became the only choice for many things in the area, so we all got used to it.  I have family members that work there and they don't have too many gripes about wages & benefits. Some had their biscuits buttered with early-on purchases of Walmart Stock. I think two relatives consider it primary income, the rest supplemental. I only hear gripes about ''new younger employees'' that 'don't last long and don't want to work'.

 

We are old enough to remember their FIRST 'buy American'' campaign.  Now their website has an ''American Made'' feature section I look at every so often if seeking durable goods.  Mostly Mr. Basset and I use walmart.com like we would use drugstore.com - no matter where you go, Alka-Seltzer is Alka-Seltzer, Pepcid is Pepcid, and Listerine is Listerine. No worries about quality, but we mainly shop perishables there.  

BTW - I know of no ''American Made'' section on eBay or Amazon.  Don't know if it will last on Walmart - but I like the idea it is there.  



Not sure how their new plan will work out. I did not think their shipping was high to begin with.  Sometimes I let my online basket accumulate like a grocery list until I reached the $50 threshold for free ship, but often I did not because shipping was so reasonable.  

So - I'm not sure what incentive there is for a buyer like me to pay them $50 additional per year just to get free shipping.



As far as selling goes, Walmart is not competition for my categories. I also think many online sellers could have foretold their misstep in the price matching fiasco!    

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu May 14 18:50:34 2015

I remember about nine or ten years ago when Walmart thought they could go head-to-head with Netflix and rent DVD's by mail. Netflix won, and Walmart eventually ended that service and transferred their memberships to Netflix.

I kinda think that the same thing will happen here. Walmart will make a grand effort, and it may even be a minor success (meaning: Walmart won't lose money). But I doubt that it will be a serious contender or threat to Amazon's Prime services.

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 23:23:22 2015

Walmart , why? I see no point. Can not compete , Junk , Junk , & more Junk.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri May 15 07:15:01 2015

Annie says "Walmart should take a look at Costco if they need guidance on how to treat employees."

Truer words were never spoken. I could not agree more.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 15 08:04:11 2015

So a Honeywell humidifier purchased at WalMart is lower quality than the same one from Amazon, which is more than half the time a re-wrapped returned unit?  How about cold medicine? Shampoo?  Duck bubble wrap?  Samsung TV?  Xbox One?  PS4?

It's fine if someone says "I don't like Walmart," but to say that their stuff is "lower quality" demonstrates that they've probably never entered the store.

I welcome this initiative from WalMart and will make use of it, as I prefer to see competition in the marketplace.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Fri May 15 11:16:22 2015

I got an earfull from a cashier at Wholefoods who seems to know all the store return policies for retailers in our area including Wal-Mart, REI, Office Depot, Best Buys, and Barnes & Noble. He says Wal-Mart drastically limited its return policies, and that apparently it was because returns were piling up in their back room? So it's not just recent eBay Buyers who are returning more items for no reason. Whole Foods has seen an increase in returns as well.

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