Walmart Developing Membership Program to Rival Amazon Prime
Walmart is developing a paid membership program to challenge Amazon's Prime offering, which is the default online shopping option for its 150 million or so paying members worldwide. The service, called Walmart+, will expand on the retailer’s grocery-delivery subscription service, which it introduced last year. Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside will spearhead the service’s development and rollout. A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed the plans but declined to provide any details. Additional perks could include discounts on prescription drugs and fuel, according to Recode, which first reported the existence of the program.
Total Retail's Take: The ongoing battle between the retail industry's two largest players, Amazon and Walmart, rages on. With its Walmart+ program, the world's largest retailer is taking aim at Amazon's grip on loyal Prime customers, and it's pushing deeper into a category that Walmart has a distinct advantage in vs. Amazon: grocery. Walmart has more than 20 percent market share in the $800-billion category. While details on the Walmart+ program are sparse (e.g., how much will it cost, what benefits do members receive, how are the company's stores involved, etc.), the mere fact that the program is being launched is newsworthy. Walmart has already made significant strides in growing its digital business, and in the process chipped away at Amazon's e-commerce dominance. The existence of a Prime-like loyalty program for Walmart shoppers could narrow that gap even further.