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Walmart has unveiled - albeit accidentally - the name of its new service designed to compete with Amazon Prime.

"Shipping Pass."

TechCrunch reports that a test site for Shipping Pass was accidentally made public yesterday.

"During the brief time the link was live," Tech Crunch writes, "shoppers were able to sign up and even place orders using ShippingPass, and were able to see which types of items were included in the new program, as well as which geographies ShippingPass served, among other things. They also found that the service would include free shipping on a number of items beyond those that could ship in three days’ time.

"Walmart says the sign-up link was part of its internal alpha test, and was not meant to be distributed. The price of the service advertised on the internal site – $1 per year – is also not the expected pricing. As the new waitlist page now shows, unlimited shipping will be $50 per year when it goes live."

The Tech Crunch story goes on: "The ShippingPass website explained to customers via its FAQ that the new service would only be available in limited geographies to start due to pilot testing. It didn’t detail which states or cities would be first to launch, but did note that Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories would be ineligible, as would customers with P.O. Boxes in the continental U.S.

"The FAQ also noted that three-day delivery was only guaranteed when orders were place by noon your local time. For example, if you order by noon on a Monday, your package would arrive by Thursday.

"Additionally, Walmart had previously hinted that the items that could be shipped via ShippingPass would be easy to find on the website, and the leaked link revealed how that’s the case: items will be identified on the site with a ShippingPass badge across a number of product categories, including Baby, Clothing, Electronics, Health & Beauty and more ... ShippingPass will also offer subscribers free shipping on a number of items beyond those that are eligible for the three-day shipping option itself. Explains the website, “select products” will ship for free within a 4-6 day time period."
KC's View:
Okay, let's just stipulate that "Shipping Pass" isn't exactly the sexiest name that Walmart could've come up with.

But let me suggest something else about the choice of name that may also speak to the difference between Amazon and Walmart.

"Shipping Pass," it seems to me, reflects a retailer-centric view of the service. It is all about how Walmart is going to get the product to the consumer.

"Prime," I think, speaks to how I, as a consumer, am valued by Amazon.

That's not just a semantic difference.

I'm not saying 'Shipping Pass" won't be successful. It may well be, and could serve as a credible way for Walmart to appeal to its shoppers and prevent them from using Amazon (even though the numbers suggest that many of them already do). But I am thinking ... albeit early in the process .. that just the choice of a name could reflect a mindset that is limiting, and even, perhaps, a failure of imagination.

We'll see.