Walmart officially unveiled its long-anticipated membership service: Walmart+. The membership service aims to go head-to-head with Amazon Prime in the fast delivery space, with the added advantage of being the nation’s largest retailer. Walmart+ costs $98 per year vs Amazon Prime’s $119 per year and comes with many perks.
Before we get into the perks, it is intersing to note that Walmart indirectly claims it isn’t competing with Amzon Prime. Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside says, “We’re not launching Walmart+ with the intent to compete with anything else. We’re launching it with the needs of customers in mind.”
The service will offer members unlimited same-day delivery on grocery items, as well as thousands of other same-day available items. The “Delivery Unlimited” program sees Walmart+ orders being picked up by in-store staff, later being handed over to third-party delivery partners like Postmates, DoorDash, Roadie and Point Pickup.
Though this may be better for Walmart (which doesn’t have the strength of Amazon’s logistics), there are concerns that the delivery experience won’t match up to Amazon due to not owning the end-to-end experience. Walart is promising more than 160,000 items to be available for same-day delivery, with no delivery fees on orders of $35 or more.
Walmart+ also brings fuel discounts to members. This will allow members to save up to 5 cents per gallon on any type of fuel at Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express gas stations across the country. The program will also allow members to receive discounts by entering a PIN or by scanning a QR code at the pump. The program plans to eventually include Sam’s Club gas stations as well.
One of the most interesting Walmart+ perks may be Scan & Go. Members will no longer need to wait in checkout lines by just using the Walmart app and Walmart Pay for contact and cashier-less shopping experience. Though Walmart initially tested Scan & Go in a few stores two years ago, the retailer ultimately ended the program after high amounts of theft.
“… I hope that brings in more customers and makes them more loyal, but when you’re as big as Walmart is — and serving as many people as we are — this is about really doubling down with the customers that we have and getting more share of wallet and more share of mind,” Whiteside says.
By undercutting Prime and using its 4,700+ retail stores (of which 2,700 offer delivery) in the U.S. to its advantage, Walmart+ could end up being a major competitor to the internet giant’s membership service, whether the retailer wants to or not. Walmart+ will be available starting September 15, 2020, at $98 per year or $12.95 per month. Walmart will also be offering a 15-day free trial period for all new members.
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