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Is Amazon Prime really worth it? Millions of people ask themselves that very question before paying $99 a year (or $10.99 a month) for a membership.
Now, a move by Walmart could make it harder to justify spending the money on Prime, at least for some.
Amazon vs. Walmart: Which retailer has the best prices?
Here’s why: Walmart.com recently began offering free two-day shipping on eligible orders of $35 or more, with no membership fee required.
It prompted Amazon to quietly reduce its free shipping minimum for non-Prime members to $35 as well (although you'll have to wait 5 to 8 business days for your package to arrive).
But there has been no change to Amazon Prime, which still offers free two-day shipping on a much larger selection of products than Walmart, a big selling point for online shoppers. And if you bypass the two-day shipping with Amazon Prime and choose a longer shipping period (maybe 5 to 8 days), you can get a credit added to your Prime account to use toward other purchases in the future — which is a great option when you don't need the items ASAP.
Comparing prices on 15 popular items
With similar shipping policies, I wanted to see how the retailers compare when it comes to price.
So I checked the prices of 15 items from multiple categories (electronics, household, food, books and more) to see which retailer was cheaper. Some of the prices below are for Amazon Prime members only.
Here are the results of my comparison:
And the winner is…
In this price comparison, Walmart.com offered the lowest price eight times, and Amazon was the best bargain in two cases. The retailers surprisingly had the same price on one-third of the products I compared.
When I added up the total for all 15 items in my shopping cart, Walmart was the big winner: 17% cheaper than Amazon!
What it takes to get free shipping
All of the items in this price comparison were eligible for free shipping, but Walmart’s new shipping policy seems a lot more straightforward.
For example, Dove shampoo was priced $4.88 on both websites.
However, as an Amazon Prime member, I would need to add four other qualifying items to receive free shipping because the shampoo is part of Prime Pantry.
Walmart simply requires a $35 total on qualifying items for free two-day shipping.
Use Amazon's app to comparison shop
Of course, this was just a comparison of a small number of items, but it’s a good reminder to never assume that one retailer always has the best deals.
I like to use Amazon’s app to compare prices when I'm in a store or shopping online.
When you open up the Amazon app, just search the product you’re looking for to see Amazon’s price. The camera icon launches a barcode scanner that you can use while you're shopping in stores.
Check out more from our Michael Saves series:
- Secret Aldi savings trick you probably haven't tried
- How I save 75% on prescription drugs
- 12 things that are cheaper at T.J. Maxx than on Amazon
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