It’s Tuesday, December 12, 2017 and 38°F in Austin, Texas

Wal-Mart - Free Shipping for the Holidays

Wal-Mart has announced that this holiday season they will provide free shipping on 60,000 selected gift items with no minimum purchase required on orders through December 20th. Wal-mart claims that item prices will not be raised to cover the shipping costs.

The New York Times covers Wal-Mart's announcement here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/business/11shipping.html?_r=1&hp

Like many large shippers, Wal-Mart has special pricing contracts with major shippers like Fed-Ex and UPS. They also have the advantage of having a very large distribution network which includes many warehouses which may ultimately be closer to the end-purchasers, thus reducing shipping distances and cost.

The article also mentions some very interesting statistics on free shipping and how consumers react to having to pay for shipping:

When e-commerce took off a decade ago, free shipping was a rare perk. Now, 55 percent of consumers are at least somewhat likely to abandon their purchase if they do not get free shipping, according to comScore, the online-research firm, and about 41 percent of transactions online now include free shipping (usually with a minimum purchase).

I will be interesting to see the success of Wal-Mart providing free shipping. It will also be interesting to see how long packages take to arrive using the free shipping option. I wonder if they will use FedEx's SmartPost service -- which lowers shipping costs but increases delivery time substantially as it uses both FedEx and then the USPS for ultimate delivery.