Move over, Amazon Prime. Walmart Plus is a new membership program designed to compete with Amazon Prime. Although the Walmart Plus launch date has been moved back, reports indicate that Walmart Plus could undercut Amazon on price while offering similar membership perks.
Walmart hasn't made any public comments about its service, but it has launched a Walmart Plus teaser website that indicates the service is "almost here." The Walmart Plus landing page has been live for weeks and it gives a few clues as to what consumers can expect from the service when it launches.
According to Vox.com, Walmart Plus was supposed to debut in July. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed the existence of Walmart Plus to Tom's Guide, but declined to comment further. Here's what we know about Walmart Plus, and how it compares to Amazon Prime based on the latest leaks.
Walmart Plus launch date
The Walmart Plus launch date was originally supposed to be in the spring, but the pandemic delayed its debut. The Walmart Plus launch date was then scheduled for July, but that too was moved back. Currently, it appears that Walmart Plus may debut later this summer. That should make Walmart Plus especially handy as families shop for back to school sales.
Walmart Plus membership
Walmart Plus is a subscription service that will reportedly include same-day delivery of groceries and other merchandise sold by Walmart. Think of Walmart Plus as the retailer's answer to Amazon Prime.
The membership program appears to be a rebranding of Walmart's $98-per-year Grocery Unlimited service. The grocery delivery service launched last year and quickly expanded to 1,400 additional stores in September of 2019.
However, the Walmart Plus landing page depicts groceries alongside tech, beauty, and sports products. The website indicates that Walmart Plus will include a variety of products beyond groceries. Vox also reports that Walmart Plus will include early access to product deals (similar to Prime) and discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations.
According to the meta description for the Walmart Plus landing page, the service will offer free unlimited same-day delivery on groceries and thousands of other items. It also states that Walmart Plus will help members "get even more benefits from your store to help you save money and live better."
Walmart Plus price
The official Walmart Plus price has not been confirmed, but reports suggest that Walmart may stick with a $98 annual fee. This would make Walmart Plus cheaper than Amazon's $119 annual cost for Amazon Prime. However, Walmart Plus could offer different price tiers with different perks based on the tier that consumers choose. Currently, there's no word on whether there will be a monthly option for Walmart Plus. It's also unclear if Walmart Plus will be rolled out nationally or limited to certain states only. In the past, Walmart has debuted services in select states only before introducing them nationally.
Walmart Plus perks
Walmart Plus will reportedly include same-day delivery of groceries and other products, reserved deliver slots, and limited access to Walmart's new Express two-hour delivery offering. You can also expect early access to deals on products and discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations.
The earlier Vox report says that Walmart Plus may enable customers to use text messaging to place orders. Other perks could include discounts on prescription drugs. In addition, Walmart Plus members may be able to check out in Walmart Stores without waiting in line, building on the retailer's previous Scan & Go service.
Walmart also reportedly has plans to add video entertainment to go up against Amazon Prime Video. Big partnerships could be on the way, but for now a family entertainment offering called CAMP by Walmart will be free to all Walmart app users this summer.
Furthermore, it's no secret that Walmart and Amazon price match each other, especially on retail holidays like Amazon Prime Day. The renewed rivalry could make for excellent deals once Walmart Plus officially launches, especially now that Prime Day has been officially delayed by Amazon.
Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime
At the start of 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that there are over 150 million paid Prime members around the world. That's a number that Walmart Plus is certainly hoping to reach.
Once the country's top retailer, Walmart has watched as its rival Amazon has dominated online sales. Amazon now accounts for roughly 38% of all online retail sales in the U.S., according to eMarketer. By comparison, Walmart is a distant second place with just over 5% of the U.S. e-commerce market. The hope is that Walmart Plus will help it take some of that market share from Amazon.
This isn't the first time Walmart has taken on Amazon Prime. In 2015, Walmart launched ShippingPass, an unlimited online shipping service that cost $50 per year and promised deliveries in three days or less. This was Walmart's attempt to undercut Amazon Prime, which at the time cost $99 per year. Two years later, Walmart dropped its membership fee and switched to a 2-day free shipping program on orders of $35 or more.
However, Walmart's biggest chest thump came in 2016, when it purchased Jet.com for $3 billion. The hope was that Jet.com would help Walmart establish a bigger online presence. (Walmart announced last month that it was permanently closing Jet.com).
The Walmart vs. Amazon feud continued into 2019. Just as Amazon announced its plans to offer 1-day shipping, Walmart followed suit with its own 1-day shipping pilot. Most recently, Walmart announced 2-hour Express delivery for an additional $10 over Walmart's typical delivery fees.
Even on big retailer days like Black Friday, Walmart has shadowed Amazon with similar sales of its own like last holiday's Big Drop Sale. Walmart Plus is an extension of this ongoing battle and only time will tell if it's the true knockout punch that it needs to take on Amazon and its legion of subscribers.