A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. package is unloaded from a trailer to be sorted for final delivery.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Alicia Adamczyk
May 12, 2016

The free shipping wars are heating up.

Walmart just launched a $49-per-year shipping subscription that nets customers free two-day shipping on over one million products, as well as free returns, called ShippingPass. It’s about half the price of Amazon Prime, the expedited shipping service that has enticed over 54 million customers to sign up, for $99 per year.

And while cheaper shipping is a win for customers who love to shop online, it can be hard to keep up with all the policies offered by big retailers fighting for an ever bigger piece of the $340 billion-plus e-commerce market. Some retailers, like Walmart, offer free shipping, but no additional perks. Amazon Prime provides free two day shipping on eligible products, as well as free one day shipping in certain areas, and tons of other added bonuses, like access to music and movies.Which subscription is right for you depends, of course, on what you intend to buy.

Here are what some of the biggest competitors are offering:

Company Name Fees What’s Included
Amazon $99 annual fee includes free 2-day shipping on Prime-eligible products, plus a $5.99 flat fee for PrimePantry orders. Free delivery of products including books, tech gear, toiletries, clothing, and more. Access to movies, TV shows, and music in Amazon’s library, unlimited photo storage, and more. Does not include fresh groceries.
Amazon Prime Fresh $299 annual fee, plus shipping costs – unless you spend $40 or more. Free delivery of fresh grocery orders and other products in certain ZIP codes. Plus, all the perks of an Amazon Prime subscription.
Walmart $49 annual fee for free 2-day shipping. Free delivery of over 1 million products from Walmart.com, free returns. Does not include fresh groceries.
Jet.com No annual fee. Free 2 to 5 day shipping on orders over $35, plus 2-day shipping on “essentials.” Free shipping and returns on personal care products, pet and gardening supplies, cleaning products, certain foods and drinks. Bulk ordering available. Free delivery on grocery orders over $35 in select markets.
ShopRunner $99 annual fee includes free 2-day shipping. Some retailers partnering with ShopRunner may have a minimum purchase amount for orders. Free shipping, free returns, and member-only deals on goods from retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nike, Staples, GNC, and more.
Target Free shipping on orders over $35. Free shipping if you sign up for product subscriptions. Free delivery of home goods, personal care, paper, and cleaning products, certain foods and drink purchases.Does not include fresh groceries.

It’s worth noting that plenty of other stores have great shipping policies without an annual fee or membership. Nordstrom, L.L. Bean, and Zappos always ship purchases free of charge (of course, you can’t buy bulk toilet paper from L.L. Bean).

For grocery delivery alone, Instacart, FreshDirect, and PeaPod are additional options (plus Uber in some markets). Their delivery fees tend to be higher.

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