In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime, Walmart is rolling out Walmart+, a membership combining in-store and online benefits with the aim of saving customers money and time.
In addition to its online presence, the service draws on more than 4,700 stores, including 2,700 locations that offer delivery as quickly as the same day. Walmart+ members get unlimited free delivery from stores, fuel discounts and access to time-saving shopping tools.
Available to all customers on Sept. 15, membership will cost $98 annually, or $12.95 per month, and includes a 15-day free trial period. Going forward, the retailer plans to introduce a range of services and offerings as further member benefits.
“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” noted Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer at Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart. “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.”
Initial Walmart+ benefits are as follows:
- Unlimited free delivery: In-store prices as fast as same-day on more than 160,000 items, including tech, toys, household goods and groceries. This service was formerly known as Delivery Unlimited, a subscription service that allowed shoppers to order an unlimited number of deliveries for a low, flat yearly or monthly fee. Existing subscribers will automatically become Walmart+ members.
- Scan & Go: Using the Walmart app, customers can scan their items as they shop, and pay using Walmart Pay.
- Fuel discounts: Members will save up to 5 cents a gallon at almost 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations, with Sam’s Club fuel stations soon to be added to the list.
The benefits are in addition to Walmart’s existing customer offerings, including free curbside pickup and next-day and two-day delivery. The company will continue to provide delivery options with a per-delivery transaction fee so customers can select the service they prefer.
“Life feels more complicated than ever,” continued Whiteside. “Walmart+ is designed to make it easier – giving customers an option to not have to sacrifice on cost or convenience. We know shopping should fit customers’ needs, not the other way around. We have always been a champion for the right item at the right price, but now it’s more than that. We have the right shopping solutions at the right time, too.”
Despite Walmart+'s similarity to Amazon Prime, there are some key differences. Walmart+ customers will have to spend a minimum of $35 for each online order to avoid fees, while Prime offers free two-day (and some same-day) shipping on every item. Additionally, Prime is more expensive to join and also comes with music and film offerings, while Walmart+ will provide fuel discounts. These differences may grow smaller as Walmart+'s additional benefits roll out.
According to reports, Walmart will use San Francisco-based Instacart to offer same-day deliveries to customers, with the service currently being tested in four California markets and Oklahoma; this move is just one of several steps that the retailer has taken to keep pace with Amazon’s e-commerce business.