Are Walmart’s associates about to become its best customers?
Walmart is looking to add 1.6 million new members to its Walmart+ subscription plan.
Chris Cracchiolo, SVP & GM Walmart+, wrote in a company blog post yesterday that the retailer is adding all of its full- and part-time employees working in stores, distribution and fulfillment centers to the delivery subscription plan for free. The annual plan normally costs $98.
“This new associate benefit is not only our way to say thank you for all they do, but it’s also so associates can use our membership, tell us how it’s going and ultimately speak to customers about it from personal experience,” wrote Mr. Cracchiolo.
It’s not clear how many of the retailer’s associates are currently members of Walmart+. Walmart has not publicly disclosed its membership count, but outside party estimates have put the number between 11.5 million (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) and 32 million (Deutsche Bank).
The retailer has been running an Exclusive Access event in recent weeks to provide Walmart+ members with Black Friday-like savings on popular products. A 30-day free trial offer seeks to bring in new members who may be intrigued at the prospect of deals not available to the general public.
Walmart+ members receive free grocery delivery and shipping on online orders, plus gas and prescription drug discounts.
RetailWire reached out to other retailers that offer subscription plans — Amazon.com, Best Buy, Kroger and Target — to see if employees were offered free memberships as a term of employment.
An Amazon spokesperson, who did not directly respond to the query, sought to reframe the conversation.
“We’re proud to offer an average starting wage for front-line employees of more than $18 per hour in the U.S. and comprehensive benefits for full-time employees,” he said. “These benefits include health, vision and dental insurance; a 401(k) with 50 percent company match; up to 20 weeks paid parental leave; Amazon’s Career Choice program, through which the company fully funds the cost of an employee’s college tuition, including classes, books and fees; Amazon Care, which offers the best of virtual care and in-person healthcare services; and Amazon’s Resources for Living program, a free mental health benefit offering services and support for employees, their families and their households.”
Other retailers contacted by RetailWire had not responded at the time of publication. The post will be updated if responses are received.
- Walmart+ Unveils New Spotify Promotion and Rolls Out Free Membership for Associates – Walmart
- Walmart+ is gaining momentum, hits 32 million members, Deutsche Bank estimates – CNBC
- Walmart+ sales event to build revenues and subscriber numbers – RetailWire
- Walmart+ Exclusive Access – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you make of Walmart’s decision to offer free Walmart+ memberships to its store, distribution and fulfillment center employees? Do you expect other retailers to do the same with their subscription plans or will they take an approach similar to Amazon?