By Brad Tuttle
July 13, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, is shaping up as the summertime Black Friday that Amazon.com envisioned. But Amazon may not have pictured that one of the main reasons the day will be a huge sales event is because Walmart is involved.

Soon after Amazon.com announced it would be hosting a huge Black Friday-like sale called Prime Day on Wednesday, July 15, analysts noted that it would likely inspire the competition to piggyback on the event with special summertime online sales promotions of their own.

And wouldn’t you know it? Walmart is doing just that. Starting today, Walmart lowered the threshold for free standard shipping with online purchases from $50 to $35, and the $35 minimum order policy will remain in effect for at least 30 days.

What’s more, when Amazon kicks off its sales event on Wednesday for members of its $99-per-year Prime service, Walmart will introduce thousands of exclusive discounts for online purchases on the very same day. And Walmart is making a big point of the fact that its sale merchandise can be purchased by anyone, not only those who belong to a paid subscription service like Amazon Prime.

According to a blog post from Walmart published on Monday, the world’s largest retailer’s sale is all about “standing up for our customers and everyone else who sees no rhyme or reason for paying a premium to save.” Walmart spokesperson Ravi Jariwala took an even more direct swipe at Amazon and Prime when he told USA Today, “We just don’t believe you should pay a fee to get a better price.”

Neither Amazon nor Walmart has released the details about prices or what, exactly, will be on sale. But both are promising huge discounts, with Walmart hyping up that it will have “some special atomic deals.”

UPDATE: In reaction to Walmart’s comments and announced sale, Amazon released a statement from Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime:

“We’ve heard some retailers are charging higher prices for items in their physical stores than they do for the same items online. The idea of charging your in-store customers more than your online customers doesn’t add up for us, but it’s a good reminder that you’re usually better off shopping online. Prime Day is the day after tomorrow. If you’re already one of the tens of millions of Prime members, you’re all set. If you’re not a member, you’re still invited to Prime Day — just take advantage of our 30-day free trial at amazon.com/prime.”

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