Walmart rolls out next-day delivery, slapping back at Amazon's plans

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Walmart steps up delivery game; Chick-fil-A explores vegan options

Morning Business Outlook: Walmart announces free, next-day shipping on orders $35 and up; Chick-fil-A is reportedly exploring the idea of adding more vegan options and meat substitutes to its menu.

Weeks following Amazon’s big push to invest $800 million for one-day delivery for its Prime members, Walmart is firing back with next-day delivery plans of its own.

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On Tuesday, the retailer announced it will now offer online shoppers –without any memberships—the option to get free next-day delivery.

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The new program will first be available on a “wide range” of merchandise from Walmart.com in a few markets, including Phoenix and Las Vegas, with plans to expand to Southern California in coming days.

“It will roll out gradually over the coming months, with a plan to reach approximately 75% of the U.S. population this year, which includes 40 of the top 50 major U.S. metro areas,” Walmart said in its release.

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The only caveat is that customers will need to purchase items of $35 or more to be eligible.

Walmart said the move is actually “good for business” as it costs them less – not more – to deliver orders the next day.

The news comes a day after Amazon announced a new program that will pay employees to quit and start their own delivery business to help the e-commerce giant meets its one-day delivery goals.

The new incentive is an expansion of its Delivery Service Partner Program that allows current Amazon employees a chance to start their own small business delivery company with its backing.

The company said it now plans to fund startup costs, up to $10,000, as well as supplement three months of the former employee’s last gross salary to get the delivery business of the ground.

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Last month, Amazon announced its plans to spend $800 million for one-day delivery for all Amazon Prime Members. It previously had only offered same-day and two-hour delivery for Prime members in certain markets. However, it did not reveal a detailed timeline on when the rollout will be nationwide.