Walmart's Sam's Club will offer free shipping to Compete against Amazon

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The company is also consolidating Sam's business and Sam's savings membership programs into one track, still priced at $45 a year, and extending the "add-on" ability so members can give memberships to family, friends or employees for $40.

The free shipping option will be only available to Sam's Club's "Plus" members, which costs $100 annually, which is essentially the same as Amazon Prime's one time price or monthly payment totaling $99 annually.

Effective immediately, anyone with a Sam's Plus membership will receive free shipping on most items sold online, including almost every Member's Mark item - and there's no minimum purchase.

The warehouse division of Walmart Inc.is adding a perk for its premium members - free shipping on almost every item available on its website.

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"Easier and faster" is how Sam's Club CEO John Furner describes the goal.

But the difference between Amazon and Sam's Club is that Sam's Club does not provide a set time frame products will be delivered for, as opposed to Amazon Prime who offers guaranteed two-day shipping. The company will now have just two types of membership - Plus and Club members. "After that review, we decided that part of our transformation had to be to simplify our membership offerings".

Currently, Bentonville, Ark. -based Walmart operates six giant server farms, each bigger than 10 football fields, which cost millions but are beginning to pay off through its online sales, which have outpaced wider industry growth levels for the past few years, Reuters said.

The Walmart-owned warehouse club said in a news release that it's committed to providing "irresistible value, incredible items, real convenience and simple choices" to its customers.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) this week announced some more major changes for its Sam's Club unit, which recently and suddenly closed a large batch of its underperforming stores.

The company last month shut 63 stores, or about 1/10th of its total, and laid off almost 10,000 workers after a review of profitability. Furner said Tuesday that the center should be ready to ship items by the end of March.

Warehouse club and Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club is ramping up its e-commerce offering. Other regions being considered for e-commerce centers include Texas, central Florida, Chicago, Southern California, the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

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