Subscription Program Walmart+ to Launch Sept. 15

Walmart+ bags 2

Walmart+, the $98 per year subscription program that the company insists isn’t competing with Amazon Prime when it is, will launch on Sept. 15, offering free same-day delivery on 160,000 items. Monthly membership is $12.95, similar to Prime, and a 15-day free trial is available.

The program will include access to Walmart’s two-hour grocery delivery service, but not on an unlimited basis, and to exclusive deals, reserved delivery slots and discount gasoline. Free delivery is available on orders over $35, a threshold that has already been in place.

Walmart+ customer can also use a scan and go feature in the Walmart app and use contactless checkout with Walmart Pay. Also, those already subscribed to the identically priced Delivery Unlimited will automatically become Walmart+ members unless they opt out.

By contrast Prime, at $119 per year or $12.99 per month, offers unlimited free two-day shipping on over 1 million items, and one-day shipping on 3 million items, access to music and video content, exclusive deals and discounts on purchases at Whole Foods stores, among other perks. Grocery delivery is free through Amazon Fresh at a $35 order minimum.

“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer for Walmart in a blog post. “Customers know they can trust us and depend on us, and we’ve designed this program as the ultimate life hack for them. Walmart+ will bring together a comprehensive set of benefits where we see the greatest needs from our customers and where our scale can bring solutions at an unprecedented value.”

Whiteside told a media scrum Monday that Walmart+ isn’t the company’s response to Amazon Prime, but instead a way to enhance the loyalty of its current customers.

“This is about really doubling down with the customers we have and getting more share of wallet and more share of mind,” she said, according to CNBC.

Prime, with 112 million U.S. members as of the end of 2019, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), has a head start that appears insurmountable. It would also be hard to imagine Walmart getting anywhere near Amazon’s SKU count for Prime members.

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