Updated to include comments from Walmart spokesman.
The world's largest retailer is testing a two-day shipping subscription service called ShippingPass that mirrors Amazon's successful Prime service, a company spokesman confirmed to TheStreet. Members to ShippingPass will get free, two-day shipping for $49 a year compared to $99 for the similar service at Amazon Prime.
"Consumers want to get their orders in different ways these days," says Walmart spokesman Dan Toporek about the new service. Currently, there is a growing wait list for ShippingPass, says Toporek. The number of people who have signed up so far was not disclosed.
To make the delivery magic happen, Walmart will rely on its eight sizable e-commerce warehouses located across the U.S. and use regional transportation carriers as opposed to FedEx (FDX - Get Report) , which presently handles the majority of Walmart's packages. Further, merchandise ordered via the service will be picked from aisles and sent out for shipment by specially trained employees at 80 U.S. stores. If the initial test is successful, Walmart could conceivably scale it up (and possibly lower the subscription cost) by tapping the merchandise at its more than 4,600 U.S. supercenters in a bid to wrestle share from Amazon.
Free, two-day shipping is the latest maneuver by Walmart to take the fight back to the juggernaut that is Amazon.
Walmart confirmed to TheStreet that it recently expanded its new grocery pickup service to two more locations in Charlotte, after a successful test at five stores that began last October. Customers place their grocery orders online, choose a time to pick them up and then pull into a designated parking spot when arriving at the store. From there, a Walmart worker brings the groceries to the person's car.
Last month, Walmart expanded its free curbside pickup of groceries into eight new cities, increasing the number of stores with the service by a third to about 200. The cities added include: Kansas City; Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Va.; Provo, Utah; Daphne, Ala.; and Charleston, S.C.
Amazon has also sought to deliver groceries more quickly to consumers.
AmazonFresh, the Internet giant's online grocery business that originally rolled out in Seattle in 2007, delivers groceries straight to a person's house within hours. To access the service, a person needs a Prime Fresh subscription that costs $299 a year. Order minimums are $50.
The service has since expanded to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California and Maryland.
A Walmart spokesman didn't immediately return a request for comment.