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The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Walmart is launching a next-day delivery service for customers in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California, on orders of $35 or more.

Walmart says that orders “will be shipped in one box to address common customer complaints about multiple boxes arriving at different times.” A rollout of the service to additional markets is expected later this year.

The move comes as Amazon has committed to the investment of $800 million to improve its default Prime delivery times from two days to one day.

The Journal writes that Marc Lore, head of Walmart U.S. e-commerce business, says that “the next-day-shipping model will lower Walmart’s cost per delivery … because shoppers will only be able to buy items available in warehouses near their homes and all items in an order will arrive together.”
KC's View:
I think that ramping up improved e-commerce services makes sense, but it also strikes me that there are a lot of caveats attached to this announcement. It will matter only if you live in certain markets, only if you spend $35 or more, and only if the ordered items are in a warehouse near me.

This isn’t to say that Amazon doesn’t have caveats. To enjoy its advantages, one has to be a paid-up member of Prime … but then Amazon keeps adding benefits to that membership and makes it all sort of painless once you’ve made that annual payment. Which somehow seems less transactional than the Walmart approach.

Customers, I think, don’t want to have to deal with all these caveats. They just want the merchandise when they want it. Walmart is smart to get this rolling, but I think it is going to have to roll it faster and further.