Walmart Launches Its Own Same-Day Delivery Service

Walmart Launches Its Own Same-Day Delivery Service

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You won't need a subscription or membership—but the delivery fee is pretty hefty.

In an effort to keep up with Amazon and Whole Foods, who recently launched two-hour delivery for Prime customers, Walmart has confirmed they are taking their delivery service nationwide, and that it will be available to 40 percent of all American shoppers by this December.

You may be one of the lucky few able to get Walmart purchases delivered straight to your door already: The service has been in place in six different regional markets. However, a national rollout will expand to 100 different cities and regions later this year.

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And this isn't Walmart hopping on Instacart's bandwagon, either—the superstore is creating their delivery service from scratch, even providing same-day delivery.

Walmart's delivery service is vastly different from other options on the market—you won't need to purchase a membership (like Amazon's Prime) or pay for a subscription fee, for starters. Any customer who orders a minimum of $30 in Walmart groceries and other purchases delivered will pay a $9.95 fee for delivery, according to Walmart's official launch announcement.

Which Walmart items can you get delivered, you might ask? Things like fresh produce, poultry, beef, seafood, shelf-stable staples, baked goods, and seasonal products are eligible. You'll shop for these items, and arrange delivery, using Walmart's Grocery App or on Walmart.com. The company is gifting free delivery to first-time customers with code "FRESHCAR" if you're interested in trying the service for yourself.

And if your area isn't eligible for delivery services just yet, Walmart also revamped its Grocery Pickup service—you can shop for all of your groceries online and have your order loaded when you pull up to the store. You won't even have to get out of the car. This service is currently available at 1,200 locations and is coming to even more stores this year.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

“We’re saving customers time by leveraging new technology, and connecting all the parts of our business into a single seamless shopping experience: great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, and apps and websites that are simple to use,” says Walmart's CEO, Greg Foran.

This is the latest move that the superstore has taken in order to keep business steady in the wake of Amazon's disruption of the retail industry this past year. It recently rolled out new meal kits for time-stressed customers, which incorporate other ready-to-eat grocery items as well, and closed more than 50 of its Sam's Club locations to prioritize online business.

Walmart Introduces Express Delivery

BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 30, 2020 — Today, Walmart is announcing Express Delivery, a new service that delivers more items from the store than ever before to customers’ doors in less than two hours.

Walmart has accelerated the development of the service in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, piloting Express Delivery in 100 stores since mid-April. The service will expand to nearly 1,000 stores in early May and will be available in nearly 2,000 total stores in the following weeks. Express Delivery allows customers to order across more than 160,000 items from Walmart’s food, consumables and general merchandise assortment such as groceries, everyday essentials, toys and electronics.

“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic, and so has the way they shop,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, Walmart. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry. COVID-19 has prompted us to launch Express Delivery even faster so that we’re here for our customers today and in the future.”

Walmart’s Express Delivery joins the retailer’s popular pickup and delivery offerings, all three of which are no-contact services for the customer. It relies on the retailer’s team of 74,000 personal shoppers who will pick customers’ orders. This includes additional personal shoppers hired specifically for Express Delivery. Walmart will utilize its existing lineup of delivery providers to take orders from a store to customers’ doors. The service will cost $10 on top of the existing delivery charge. Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited customers will simply pay a $10 fee per Express Delivery. Like Walmart’s pickup and delivery services, there is no markup on items – an item is priced the same as it is on the shelf.

Express Delivery also builds on the existing inventory of pickup and delivery slots available to customers, creating more opportunity for customers to shop Walmart when and how they want.

“We have an opportunity to serve our customers no matter what life calls for,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president, Customer Product. “Whether it be a last-minute ingredient, medicine when a fever hits, or the item you didn’t know you needed when checking off your chore list, time matters. Express is a solve for that.”

SHIPPING WARS: Walmart blows Amazon out of the water with its own free, next-day delivery

Walmart is undercutting Amazon's newest Prime-member perk and launching free, next-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of products.

Walmart's next-day service, which applies to orders costing at least $35, is rolling out Tuesday in Phoenix and Las Vegas, Walmart said. It will be available to 75% of US shoppers by the end of the year and continue to expand next year, Walmart ecommerce CEO Marc Lore told Business Insider.

Unlike Amazon Prime, which costs $119 annually, Walmart's next-day shipping requires no membership fees. And it will be cheaper for Walmart to execute than two-day shipping, because each order will be fulfilled from a single fulfilment center, Lore said. Walmart's two-day orders, by comparison, can be filled from multiple facilities and in multiple boxes.

"S hipping costs will definitely go down," Lore said in a phone interview.

Walmart's rollout of next-day delivery comes less than three weeks after Amazon revealed plans to cut its Prime program's default shipping speed to one day.

Lore said the timing of the companies' announcements was mere coincidence.

"We had planned to make this announcement on this day many months ago," he said, adding that Walmart started investing in the infrastructure for next-day shipping more than two years ago.

Walmart hinted last month that a next-day shipping rollout was coming soon. Shortly after Amazon announced it would be speeding up Prime shipping, Walmart tweeted: "One-day free shipping. without a membership fee. Now THAT would be groundbreaking. Stay tuned."

Walmart's next-day shipping offer will initially be available only on a selection of up to 220,000 items, which will vary regionally based on customers' ordering habits.

Lore said the assortment will grow over time.

"We will continue to add products for next-day shipping," he said.

The company also plans to make "aggressive investments" in automation and boxing technology at its fulfillment centers to further drive down the costs of next-day shipping, he said.

Next-day shipping should help Walmart gain market share and attract new customers who haven't previously ordered from Walmart.com, according to Sucharita Kudali, vice president at the market research firm Forrester.

It will also ramp up pressure on Amazon to execute well on its own promise of one-day shipping, she said.

"There has been this thesis for the last few years that Amazon is untouchable — that it's this runaway train of success and nobody can catch up," she said. "I think what we're seeing is: it's not over in retail. There's still a ton of competition, and ultimately the customer wins."

Can Walmart+ take on Amazon Prime?

Amazon has a number of advantages over Walmart, including a much wider selection, larger warehouse capacity, and a vast third-party marketplace, though Walmart took an important step in expanding its own marketplace via a new partnership with Shopify.

Prime's e-commerce supremacy isn't going to be threatened anytime soon, especially as Amazon continues to innovate and add new perks to the loyalty program, but Walmart can still narrow the gap, and seems poised to do so.

Plenty of customers and investors will make comparisons between Walmart+ and Amazon's signature subscription service, but there's more at stake here than just competing with Prime. Walmart needs to protect its market share in groceries and other areas, and locking customers into a Prime-like service should help boost their individual spending with the retailer. The service should be popular with those who already do some or all of their grocery shopping with Walmart.

Additionally, Walmart must also battle for customers with rivals like Costco, Kroger, and Target, all of which are stepping up their e-commerce offerings.

Walmart+ doesn't have to beat Amazon Prime to be successful. By leveraging the company's advantages in grocery and its store base, the new service can boost sales, reward customers, and lock in a loyal customer base.

Investors cheered the news of the pending service launch, sending the stock up 7% on Tuesday. We'll learn more about the program when Walmart makes a formal announcement, which could come later this month.

Walmart teams up with Instacart for same-day delivery

Walmart and Instacart are expanding their relationship in an attempt to battle Amazon, Target and other retailers as consumers keep buying groceries online during COVID-19.

Same-day delivery has become an essential service for grocers as online buying becomes part of many shoppers’ routines . Walmart has offered same-day delivery for a couple years now through a collection of third-party services. It could reach even more shoppers through Instacart, which says it reaches more than 80% of North American households.

The launch with Instacart follows a reported delay in the introduction of Walmart+ , Walmart’s own version of an annual subscription service that was supposed to kick off in July, and which would include grocery delivery. The service is seen as Walmart’s answer to Amazon Prime.

Walmart+ launches Sept 15, offering same-day delivery, gas discounts and cashierless checkout for $98/yr

Walmart today officially unveiled its new membership service and Amazon Prime rival, which it’s calling “Walmart+.” The $98 per year service will combine free, unlimited same-day delivery on groceries and thousands of other items, with additional benefits, like fuel discounts and access to a new Scan & Go service, similar to Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, that will allow members to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait in line.

The service will be available starting on September 15, 2020 nationwide, reaching over 4,700 Walmart stores, including 2,700 stores that offer delivery. Members can choose to pay the $98 per year after a 15-day free-trial period, or they can pay $12.95 on a month-to-month basis.

At launch, the new program promises more than 160,000 items for same-day delivery with no per-delivery fee on orders totaling $35 or more. This is the same value proposition that Walmart’s existing “Delivery Unlimited” program offers today. With the launch of Walmart+, “Delivery Unlimited” members will be moved to the rebranded and expanded service.

In addition to delivery savings, the new Walmart+ membership will include fuel discounts of up to 5 cents per gallon on any fuel type at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express stations nationwide. Walmart+ members will enable the discounts by using the Walmart mobile app, either by scanning a QR code or entering a PIN at the pump. Further down the road, the program will expand to include Sam’s Club fuel stations as well.

Image Credits: Walmart

The Scan & Go membership perk, meanwhile, lets Walmart+ members pay without having to wait in checkout lines — a nice perk to have amid a pandemic, where time in store means time exposed to potential carriers of the novel coronavirus. Using the Walmart app, customers scan scan items as they shop, then pay for them using Walmart Pay for a touch-free checkout experience.

Walmart two years ago had tested cashierless Scan & Go technology in its stores, but killed the program due to shopper theft. Arguably, fewer people will use Scan & Go because it’s a paid service, which could help store staff better combat the earlier problems.

Image Credits: Walmart

As with “Delivery Unlimited,” the Walmart+ orders are picked by in-store staff then handed off to partners like Postmates, DoorDash, Roadie and Point Pickup for delivery. Not owning the end-to-end experience can cause issues for consumers, however — especially because a poor delivery experience can damage Walmart’s reputation, or because customer service issues can’t be always dealt with directly when a middleman is involved. Walmart has also seen partners come and go, as delivery services ended their relationship with Walmart over the costs involved.

Walmart claims its new program is not a Prime rival. But it could encourage some number of Prime members to make a switch.

“We’re not launching Walmart+ with the intent to compete with anything else. We’re launching it with the needs of customers in mind,” explained Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside.

“Of course, I hope that brings in more customers and makes them more loyal, but when you’re as big as Walmart is — and serving as many people as we are — this is about really doubling down with the customers that we have and getting more share of wallet and more share of mind,” Whiteside added.

Prime is a much more expansive program. For comparison, Prime offers tens of millions of products for two-day delivery, over 10 million for one-day delivery and over 3 million for same-day delivery on orders of $35 or more. Walmart+ is focused more specifically on same-day delivery, as Walmart.com already offers free one-day or two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more without requiring a membership fee.

Prime today also offers a huge array of other perks — like access to free music, video, audiobooks, Kindle books and more. Walmart+ does not.

Still, for many customers, the value in Prime is rooted in its promise of speedy delivery. But at the same time, Amazon has tested the limits of its customer loyalty by steadily raising Prime’s subscription price over the years to now $119 when paid annually, or $12.99 per month. Walmart+ undercuts Prime at $98 per year or $12.95 per month while largely catering to the online grocery shopper — a target market that has rapidly grown during the pandemic. Walmart recently reported the pandemic helped drive its own e-commerce sales, fueled by online grocery, up 97% in the past quarter.

Image Credits: Walmart

Meanwhile, Amazon’s grocery strategy since its 2017 purchase of Whole Foods has yet to be streamlined. Amazon today continues to offer two different online grocery services, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, with a varying array of pickup and delivery options, potentially leading to consumer confusion.

That said, the pandemic has led to massive sales increases for Amazon and Walmart, along with other essential retailers like Target, with all involved reporting stellar earnings in recent quarters.

Walmart’s plans for a new subscription program had previously been reported and a placeholder website has also been live for some time. In August, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told investors on the company’s earnings call that it was readying the launch a membership program that would be centered around delivery. He noted also at the time how Walmart’s existing “Delivery Unlimited” subscription, launched last year, would serve a “great base of an offer” for the broader program, but didn’t offer a launch time frame.

Earlier reports said the service would include other perks, like access to more grocery time slots, promotional deals and eventually a Walmart+ credit card. The retailer declined to speak to its plans, only saying that Walmart+ benefits would expand over time.

“As is the case with any great membership offering, these benefits are not intended to be static. We will continue to leverage our assets and scale to bring solutions at unprecedented value, all while holding true to the everyday low prices that customers know they can always expect from Walmart,” Whiteside said. “In the future, we will be leveraging our wide-ranging strengths to add additional benefits for members in a range of both services and offerings,” she added.

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Amazon may have a 15-year head start, but Walmart is close to finally unveiling its own membership program that it hopes will eventually become an alternative to Amazon Prime.

Walmart had planned to launch a new subscription service in July called Walmart+ that will cost $98 a year. It will include perks like same-day delivery of groceries and general merchandise, discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations, and early access to product deals, multiple sources told Recode.

But Walmart has once again delayed the launch of Walmart+, Recode has learned. It’s unclear whether there’s a new internal launch date and whether the program will launch nationally or first on a regional level when the company finally unveils it. Walmart originally planned to launch Walmart+ in late March or April, Recode reported in February, but the retailer first pushed back the date to July after the Covid-19 pandemic began sweeping across the US in March.

A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment on the Walmart+ launch.

While Covid-19 panic-buying helped boost Walmart sales to record highs earlier this year, its US e-commerce presence is still only around an eighth the size of Amazon’s. Today, Amazon is valued at $1.56 trillion, while Walmart is worth $372 billion. And Amazon Prime is a big reason why.

Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime has become a loyalty program that now boasts more than 150 million members globally and sports a portfolio of perks, including express delivery of groceries and other items, access to a large catalog of TV shows and movies, as well as exclusive discounts at Whole Foods stores. Amazon Prime members, who pay $119 annually in the US, shop more frequently and spend more on Amazon than non-Prime members do. They also do price comparisons less across competitor sites.

Perhaps most problematic for Walmart is the fact that more than half of its top-spending families now have Amazon Prime memberships, Recode previously reported. It’s a trend that has been several years in the making, as Amazon has made moves for Prime to appeal to households with less disposable income that historically have favored shopping at Walmart.

Amazon added a monthly payment option for Prime in 2016, a 45 percent Prime fee discount for those on government assistance in 2017, and ways for Prime customers to pay for orders with cash last year. While Walmart’s overall grocery business is larger than Amazon’s, one fear at the Bentonville, Arkansas, retailer is that top Walmart customers could eventually turn to Amazon for groceries as well, as they get sucked further into the Prime suite of perks.

When Walmart+ launches, the $98 annual membership is expected to include unlimited same-day delivery of groceries and other goods from Walmart Supercenters, reserved delivery slots and open-slot notifications, as well as some access to Walmart’s new Express two-hour delivery offering, though not unlimited usage. During the pandemic, customers have run into issues securing grocery delivery slots in some parts of the country as companies like Walmart and Amazon struggled to handle drastic increases in demand for online grocery services.

Walmart+ perks are also expected to include discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations, early access to some product deals, and a Scan & Go service that would allow shoppers to check out in Walmart stores without waiting in line — a tool Walmart briefly tested but discontinued nearly two years ago. A Walmart+-branded credit card will also be introduced at some point after launch.

Walmart also has plans to add video entertainment components to the program, though the details of this remain unclear. In July, Walmart unveiled an online family entertainment program called CAMP by Walmart, in partnership with the retail startup CAMP and the online video technology firm Eko. This video content, featuring celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, Drew Barrymore, and LeBron James, will be free to all Walmart app users this summer. But the program could point to a future where similar programming is gated off for Walmart+ members. Walmart has also considered partnering with big media companies on video content perks.

The timing of the Walmart+ unveiling could both create opportunities for Walmart and present new challenges. On one hand, as Recode recently reported, “the share of people who said they have a positive impression of Amazon dropped from 74 percent in January before the pandemic hit the US to 58 percent in May in two similar, separate polls of more than 1,000 people conducted by Survey Monkey with Fortune and Recode, respectively.” Amazon customers have seen extended delivery times during the pandemic, especially in March and April, in part due to the company’s focus for several weeks on prioritizing delivery of essential items.

The pandemic has also accelerated adoption of grocery delivery while simultaneously forcing tens of millions of Americans out of work, which could make fuel discounts especially attractive. But at the same time, those same record unemployment numbers could call into question the timing of introducing a program that is asking customers to spend more with you than they have during even good economic times.

Either way, the Walmart+ initiative is a top priority for Janey Whiteside, the company’s chief customer officer who joined from American Express in 2018, according to sources. Other top Walmart leaders, including CEO Doug McMillon, have also been active in planning, signaling the importance of the initiative. Walmart executives have hoped the program would strike a balance of being valuable enough that customers will pay for it, while boasting different enough perks from Amazon Prime so that there aren’t perk-by-perk comparisons. Shoppers should soon be able to decide for themselves.

Update, August 4, 3:55 pm ET: This post has been updated to include the Walmart+ launch delay.

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Walmart Announces Same-Day Delivery, Tries to Beat Amazon at Its Own Game


Walmart is the king of all retail, with revenues that are six times greater than its nearest competitor. Amazon has a comparable stranglehold on the e-commerce industry. And while it may have once seemed that each of these mega-merchants were lords of their own separate castles, it is becoming increasingly clear — as e-commerce sales continue to grow its share of total retail sales — that these two behemoths will battle it out to determine the future of the retail industry.

Amazon knows that e-commerce sales won’t just inexorably rise forever. Traditional retailing has advantages, like the ability to offer customers the chance to see and touch a product before buying. Another key strength of traditional retail is instant gratification. A customer can go out and get a product right now at his nearest retailer if he so chooses. But recently, Amazon has been trying to neutralize that advantage by offering same-day delivery for some products in a limited number of areas. And while expanding that service to more places and products may be a ways off, it is clear that Amazon is intent on cutting down traditional retail’s “instant gratification” advantage as much as is economically possible.

Walmart isn’t taking it lying down. The big-box giant announced this week that it too would be offering same-day delivery, using its extensive network of superstores as distribution centers, and shipping products to consumers via UPS. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the service will initially be available in the Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Jose, and San Francisco areas. The service will cost $10 per delivery, with no minimum order. Amazon’s own same-day delivery service costs $8.99, with a .99 per-item shipping charge.

How big of a deal is same-day delivery? The jury is still out. As evidenced by the high shipping costs, this is not a cheap thing to do. With a ten-dollar-per-order shipping charge, it’s unlikely that many customers will regularly take advantage of the service, unless they are really in a bind, need a product immediately and don’t have time to go to the store themselves to pick it up. Of course, as with any service, the more demand for it there is, the more cheaply a retailer can provide it.

More importantly, however, the move is a signal of Walmart’s desire to make a big play for ecommerce business. It comes on the heels of the big-box retailer’s decision to stop selling Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and tablets, as these devices have become a main facilitator for consumers to purchase products through Amazon.com. In a presentation to investors yesterday, Walmart made its global ecommerce efforts a central theme of its pitch.

According to the trade publication, Internet Retailer, Walmart’s ecommerce sales were $4.9 billion, which is roughly 1% of its total revenue, and well shy of Amazon’s online sales of $48 billion. But Walmart is known for its ability to adapt to the times and to continue to grow revenue after many other mature companies would have rested on their laurels and enjoyed the fruits of being an established player. And while ecommerce sales are just a sliver of the firm’s overall revenues, the distinction between online and offline shopping is becoming more and more blurred. For instance, Walmart has claimed that half of its online sales come in the form of in-store pickups, where customers purchase the item online and then travel to the store to get it.

With the retail landscape changing so rapidly, it makes sense for the firm to engage in low-risk experiments like same day delivery. Ultimately, it may not be economically feasible, as customers may prefer to swing by a nearby store instead of paying huge shipping fees. But it doesn’t hurt to give customers that option. By showing a willingness to experiment and change, Walmart gives itself more than a fighting chance to dominate the future of retail, just as it has the past.

Does Walmart's New Grocery Delivery Program Raise the Stakes?

Mega-retailer Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced Wednesday that it will begin this fall offering same-day grocery delivery service at 1,400 stores in all 200 U.S. metropolitan areas where its Grocery Delivery service is currently available. The company said that the new service, called Delivery Unlimited, would be available in 1,600 stores and more than half the country by the end of this year. Walmart has about 4,200 U.S. stores.

The company began testing the service in four cities earlier this year and is apparently satisfied that it is something that enough customers will pay for to make it worthwhile for the company to offer. Delivery Unlimited is a subscription program that will cost $98 a year or $12.95 a month.

In January, Walmart beefed up its delivery offerings by adding four delivery companies to expand its online grocery program. The company said it employs more than 45,000 people as personal shoppers who have been trained on how to “select the freshest produce and the best cuts of meat” for online grocery customers.

Walmart also said that, “unlike other services,” Grocery Delivery (and, by extension, Delivery Unlimited customers) pay the “same every day low prices on items that they do in stores, no premium, no hidden cost.” An independent review of grocery delivery services by Consumer Reports found that some stores may charge more for delivered items. Costco Wholesale Corp.’s (NASDAQ: COST) prices for delivered groceries averaged 31% more than prices in the company’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Later this year, Walmart is scheduled to begin testing an in-home grocery delivery service to compete with Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Amazon Key program, using a smart device that allows delivery drivers to enter customers’ homes while they’re away and leave the delivered goods inside the house. Walmart’s service is planned to go one better than Amazon Key: the drivers will put perishable items in customers’ refrigerators.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) acquired delivery service Shipt in December 2017 to jump-start its same-day delivery service. Target announced earlier this year that it is rolling out a same-day delivery service at 1,500 stores in 47 states for some 65,000 items available at the store’s website. Target’s annual subscription price is $99, or customers can choose to pay $9.99 per delivery.

Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) last year launched its own same-day delivery service in a limited trial. At the end of the company’s first fiscal quarter in May of this year, Kroger delivery locations had been expanded to 2,126 of the company’s 2,761 retail grocery stores.

Same-day delivery is all about customer loyalty. Grocery stores operate on pretty thin margins and they need to keep their revenues up in order to grow. Does Walmart’s program raise the price of poker? Not really, but it keeps the company even with other companies’ delivery options and Walmart’s scale may prove to be an advantage in the future. The good news for consumers is that all these retailers will continue to look for an edge as they seek to hold onto current customers and snatch some away from their competitors.

How to Get 2-Day Delivery Badge on Walmart

Merchants who use Amazon’s FBA fulfillment service get an edge by having their listings feature the Prime badge. Those who list on Walmart can get a similar edge if they use third-party fulfillment services that have partnered with the retailer, such as ShipBob.

Walmart will display a Free 2-day delivery badge for approved Walmart Marketplace sellers who use ShipBob (which will continue to support fulfillment for Walmart Marketplace orders outside of the Two Day delivery program).

The badge can give listings a boost – Walmart reports a 50% increase in conversion for products with 2-day badging, according to this week’s announcement that also featured a quote from Jeff Clementz, the Senior Vice President of Walmart Marketplace:

“Helping our sellers have access to 2-day delivery options is a key priority for Walmart. We’re happy to be working with ShipBob and see this relationship as a big advantage for our sellers and customers.”

Note that Walmart offers its own fulfillment service as well, launched in February 2020 and called WFS.

ShipBob says its fulfillment service is an “Amazon-like shipping experience,” and describes its pricing model on this page of the ShipBob website.

It said 2-Day delivery badging on Walmart.com is proven to catch shoppers’ attention: “Shoppers filter products with 2-day delivery and see “2-day delivery” badging in search results under the product price. Products with 2-day badging also benefit from higher search rankings.”

You can learn more about the Walmart partnership on the ShipBob website.

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