Will a new subscription program be Walmart’s winning answer to Amazon Prime?
Walmart will begin testing a new annual subscription plan as early as next month with features that will eventually go beyond those offered by rival Amazon.com’s Prime program.
A Walmart spokesperson confirmed to RetailWire that the retailer has created a new membership program operating under the name of Walmart+, but declined to offer any further details at this time.
Recode, which originally broke the news, reports that the subscription plan is a rebrand of Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited annual grocery delivery plan. The current plan, priced at a yearly fee of $98 or $12.95 a month, allows members access to an unlimited number of same-day deliveries from around 1,600 stores around the country. Delivery Unlimited was rolled out in September after Walmart successfully tested the service using third-party drivers in the Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City and Tampa markets.
The new program, according to Recode’s reporting, may allow members to place orders via text, similar to Walmart’s recently discontinued Jetblack personal shopping service.
Down the road, Walmart may look at adding other perks, such as discounts on prescription medicines and/or fuel at the chain’s gas stations. Also being considered is a service that would allow members to scan items as they shop in stores and then check out without having to wait in line.
Walmart is considering the additional perks as it seeks a means to gain online market share. Currently, Amazon’s total (38.7 percent) is greater than Walmart (5.3 percent) and the next eight competitors (16.4 percent) combined, according to eMarketer.
Earlier this week, Walmart announced the launch of Walmart Fulfillment Services, a program that stores, picks, packs, ships and handles returns of items ordered from third parties on the retailer’s online marketplace. The move, seen as an answer to the Fulfillment by Amazon program, is an attempt by Walmart to expand its roster of strong marketplace sellers. More than half of the revenues posted on Amazon’s site come from third parties.
- Walmart is quietly working on an Amazon Prime competitor called Walmart+ – Recode
- In power move, Walmart expands Delivery Unlimited – RetailWire
- How will Jetblack lessons inform Walmart’s conversational commerce efforts? – RetailWire
- Is Amazon’s speed killing the competition? – RetailWire
- Will fulfilling third-party vendor orders give Walmart an edge over Amazon? – RetailWire
- Target Cracks Top 10 US Ecommerce Ranking – eMarketer
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is playing a one-upmanship game with Amazon Prime perks a smart strategic move for Walmart? What perks, if any, should Walmart+ offer to chip away at the hold that Amazon Prime currently has on the market?