Walmart+ Subscription Service to Launch This Month, Will Rival Amazon Prime
Walmart on Tuesday unveiled a subscription service that will go toe-to-toe with Amazon Prime, reports CNN. The Walmart+ membership plan includes free shipping on items $35 and over, including same-day deliveries on certain items from stores, such as groceries. It will cost $98 a year or $12.95 a month, and includes a 15-day free trial period. Members will also get five-cent-per-gallon discounts on gasoline as well as the ability to scan items with the Walmart app while they shop in physical stores (and pay without waiting in a checkout line). These benefits come in addition to the retailer’s existing customer offerings like Walmart’s free curbside pickup, next-day and two-day delivery.
Walmart+ will begin offering its service to customers Sept. 15. According to a company press release, along with the power of its online presence, Walmart+ has the reach of more than 4,700 stores, including 2,700 stores that offer same-day delivery.
Total Retail's Take: The long-awaited answer to Amazon.com's Prime program is finally here. Walmart has been teasing its Walmart+ program for months, leading industry analysts to speculate on what the retail giant would offer consumers to draw them away from Amazon. Although Walmart+ undercuts Amazon Prime by $21 a year, it lacks many of its rival's benefits. For example, Prime requires no minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping, and includes a number of other perks, such as free streaming of music, TV shows and movies, and unlimited photo storage. It also gives customers discounts at Whole Foods in addition to free two-hour grocery delivery.
That said, Walmart's "option to also buy online and pick up in-store, of which Amazon has only in a limited capacity, may well be the game changer," comments Eagle Eye's Head of Industry Insight Miya Knights. With a massive and far-reaching store network in place, Walmart's omnichannel capabilities are stronger than ever and sure to be appealing to consumers nationwide.
Launching a subscription service that costs nearly $100 during a global health crisis may deter some consumers from joining, especially if these shoppers are already Prime members. Many consumers still haven't financially recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they're overloaded with other subscription offerings in the market. But Walmart is confident that it will grab consumers' interest, viewing its new program as "the ultimate life hack" for its customers and offering "solutions at an unprecedented value” considering the retailer's large scale, says Janey Whiteside, Walmart's chief customer officer. We'll be watching closely as the Walmart+ program launches to gauge its adoption level and its impact on Amazon Prime, as well as other retail subscription services.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content manager at Total Retail and sister brand Women in Retail Leadership Circle. She is passionate about digital media and handles social media, video, and podcast production for both brands, as well as contributing articles and attending events. Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.