In a bid to keep pace with their number one competitor, Walmart announced yesterday that they will offer free one day shipping on many items. Starting May 14, Walmart customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas who buy more than $35 worth of goods enjoyed free one-day shipping. The offer, which Walmart had hinted was in the works and will be applied to as many as 220,000 items, will extend to Southern California in the coming days and will reach about three-quarters of the United States by the end of the year. The $35 minimum was set with the expectation that the average Walmart at that price point would include several items thereby reducing individual unit shipping cost by sending the entire order in one box. Walmart's e-commerce business has not been profitable. In fact, management expects to lose more this year than they did in 2019. Amazon expects to spend $800 million this quarter to cut their shipping costs. Walmart's same day shipping is available to all customers without any membership fees. Amazon's service, on the other hand, is available only to Prime members at an annual cost of $119.
One thing is clear. The big package companies don't have enough capacity to handle the expected volume of same day deliveries from the big retailers. They may not even want the business. You can expect Target to be adding to the volume as well as other retailers. Same day delivery from UPS or Fedex would be cost prohibitive. You'll find a range of about $27 to $55 at FedEx and about $30 to $63 at UPS which is clearly not a viable option. So what is Walmart's strategy for this same day service? Walmart is using a surprising strategy on free, next-day shipping that doesn't involve any of its 4,700 US stores. Instead, orders will be filled and shipped from 6 fulfillment centers across the U.S. Walmart plans to further drive down the costs of next-day shipping by making "aggressive investments" in automation and boxing technology. Fulfillment centers are better equipped for those kind of investments according to Walmart CEO, Marc Lore. Walmart will be utilizing its stores for same day order pickup.
Who Is Gonna Make All These Same Day Deliveries
The big retailers will have to utilize additional resources to UPS and FedEx. Dozens of start up companies are already in business offering same day delivery. The boom in e-commerce sales has lead to a surge in package volume and shippers don't have the capacity or network to quickly deliver parcels. This has created a new market and presented a significant opportunity for last mile delivery startups to emerge.
Capital investment and labor are the deterrent to most companies entering the parcel market. For that reason, Deliv.com, Rodie and many others have opened up across the country with limited capital investment. They depend on private van and car owners to make the deliveries as contract workers which is very much like the Uber platform. With the driver unrest Uber has been recently experiencing, these start ups may find some new, willing drivers. The companies won't last if the drivers are not making an adequate wage and one also can't help but wonder when everyone became in such a hurry? To keep informed on this and other industry news, subscribe to our blog.