Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say, and Walmart’s latest move shows just how much it wants to be like Amazon.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has been working with Deliverr since 2018 to let some marketplace sellers fulfill orders in two days using the startup’s logistics prowess. Now, Walmart has opened up Deliverr access to any merchant who wants to participate and get goods to customers in the same time it takes Amazon Prime.
Deliverr says on its website that Walmart marketplace merchants must fulfill all of their SKUs through its service instead of picking and choosing which items get the two-day shipping treatment. Offering two-day shipping at no charge can help sellers compete against lower-priced competitors, the startup said, when those rivals tack on delivery as an added cost. Merchants ship their inventory to Deliverr, which stores the goods in its nationwide network of warehouses nearby major populations.
The rivalry between Walmart and Amazon has seen each become more like the other. Walmart’s built on its brick-and-mortar base by investing heavily in digital technologies and innovation to match Amazon. Amazon, for its part, has put down roots in physical retail with the Whole Foods acquisition, a fleet of Amazon Books stores and the newer arrival of shops curating only products bearing four stars or higher online.
But logistics is a particularly fierce battleground for the two titans and their competitors. Prime membership’s free two-day shipping promise set the bar for consumer expectations on when orders should arrive at their doorsteps, and Amazon has set that bar even higher with free next-day and same-day shipping, and Prime Now fulfillment that delivers purchases in a matter of hours. Walmart double downed on its brick-and-mortar advantage by offering a host of store-based fulfillment options, from click-and-collect to parking-lot grocery pick-up. Target, the third leg on this retail barstool, has kept up with the logistics rat race, purchasing Shipt to offer customer a speedy, service-oriented store delivery option.
Walmart’s Deliverr partnership aims to level the logistics playing field but Amazon’s marketplace still offers tens of millions more products and thousands more sellers than what the Bentonville retailer has to offer.