Amazon will soon be facing competition from an unlikely contender. Wal-Mart is preparing to unveil a fast-shipping subscription-based service similar to Prime in a bid to boost its online sales and win back market share that Amazon has no doubt taken away over the years.
The Information reports that the subscription service, codenamed Tahoe, was originally slated to launch this past winter but was ultimately delayed due to unspecified technical problems.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the service based on what we know so far is its price. Wal-Mart told the Associated Press that it is planning to price the service at just $50 per year – far cheaper than the $99 that Amazon now charges for Prime (and even less than its pre-price hike rate of $79/year).
Shipments will be delivered within three days or less, we’re told.
There are a few caveats worth pointing out. While Wal-Mart’s rumored service may be cheaper, it won’t include the other benefits that Amazon Prime delivers such as Prime Instant Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Streaming services could come at a later date but Wally World will likely focus on speedy shipping early on. What’s more, only around a million of the company’s seven million products sold online will quality for expedited shipping under the offering.
Wal-Mart’s new service is expected to go live sometime this summer and will initially be available by invitation only.