Walmart+ Takes on Amazon Prime

Posted on September 1, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Cloud with 24 Comments

Walmart today announced a new membership program called Wallmart+ that combines in-store and digital perks similar to Amazon Prime.

“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” Walmart chief customer officer Janey Whiteside said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Walmart+ launches September 15, costs $98 per year or $12.95 per month, and benefits from “the reach of more than 4,700 stores, including 2,700 stores that offer delivery as fast as [the] same day.” Members will receive unlimited free delivery from its retail store locations, fuel discounts of up to 5 cents a gallon nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations (with Sams Club coming soon), and shopping tools like Scan & Go in the Walmart app.

The free delivery option is perhaps the most compelling. Walmart+ gives members in-store prices and free delivery as fast as the same day on over 160,000 items. This service was previously available as a standalone offering called Delivery Unlimited, and any customers who were previously using that service will automatically become Walmart+ members.

Walmart notes that the Walmart+ perks come in addition to other services it currently offers, such as free curbside pickup, and NextDay and two-day delivery. And the retailer will still offer delivery options with a per-delivery transaction fee for customers who prefer that.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Walmart+ Takes on Amazon Prime”

  1. dallasnorth40

    Amazon Prime is music, video, photos, gaming, and so much more. Walmart must bring more than just free shipping to the party.

    • mattbg

      In reply to dallasnorth40:

      It's a start. If you think "busy moms" or "pandemic shut-ins" then this makes more sense.

      I have Amazon Prime, albeit in its more limited Canadian form, and I go can go a month or more without buying anything from Amazon (usually things that I can't find elsewhere because their prices are not the best anymore, and at that point they are often over the free shipping threshold), and the video content is not that appealing and I never use the books, music, photos, or gaming even though I am into all of those to some degree. I don't need "same day delivery" for anything I order off Amazon.

      I'm not in the target market for Walmart's offering, but if the only thing you want is fresh groceries at a good price delivered "free" then Walmart is in a unique position to do that.

    • simard57

      In reply to dallasnorth40:

      what you say. the lead in said "combines in-store and digital perks similar to Amazon Prime" but I saw no digital perks.

      • Paul Thurrott

        The digital perk (there's no second perk) is related to the app they have. It's not exactly the same as Amazon (or as widespread with digital offerings). It's just about shopping.
        • daniel7878

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Just having a 'second option' in competition to Amazon is a great thing in its own. Amazon is so dummy proof.. search , click , buy , ship. If walmart can reach that level of smoothness, then I'll just search both quickly for the lowest price and it won't make a difference which one I buy from.

  2. robmille

    I think it's an interesting offering. I don't think it's for me, but I see it as a bigger shot at InstaCart than at Amazon. Sure it gives people an option for something other than Amazon, but I can't imagine there are going to be many "switchers". Might be some people sign up for both.

  3. hellcatm

    Ok, I can see next Costco doing something like this. If they did, I think more people would buy into it. Costco is a better store, and gives better service than Walmart. I hate going to Walmart, the service is horrible, and their meat and produce prices are higher than a lot of stores. Die hard Walmart goers who don't look at prices or quality and who are used to bad service will go for it, but most other people won't.

  4. Michael Sorrentino

    In reply to BrianEricFord:

    There's no need to compare for which is worse, bad is bad. Extent and why are irrelevant.

  5. jgraebner

    I'm surprised they aren't including a Sam's Club membership as part of this package. Seems like that would up the value proposition quite a bit.

  6. scovious

    I will go ahead and assume this is US only, because new everything is always US only...

  7. tghallin

    Since March, we have used Walmart, King Soopers (a Kroger company), Home Depot, Lowes, the Container Store, and Dick's Sporting Goods curbside pickup. If it is available at Walmart, we shop from them. Here in Colorado, they are the best. So I will be curious to see how their plus service works. Will they guarantee 1 day or 2 day delivery from the sellers in their marketplace? Will they have the capacity for increased same day delivery? Other retailers in our area were caught totally off guard with the increase in demand for delivery and curbside pickup this spring.

  8. ebraiter

    Where Walmart Video? Walmart Music? :-)

  9. JerryH

    My last trip to a Walmart physical store was a disaster. This was in Antioch, CA - I am sure they have different policies in different areas. This was about 2 months ago - so well into the limited number of people allowed in the store, mask requirements, etc. We needed a fishing license, some c-cell and AA-cell batteries, a small flashlight, and handful of other things. I stood there at the counter to get a fishing license for 30 minutes trying to get someone to come handle the sale. During this 30 minutes, my wife was trying to get the other items. The batteries? Locked up in a cabinet. A button placed there says to push the button to get someone to come unlock it. Same for the flashlights. She finally got the flashlight. But had been waiting 15 minutes to get batteries with multiple presses on the button and asking some employees who walked by too. We walked out - didn't buy the flashlight. Went down the street to Lowe's where the batteries aren't behind lock and key and got them there.

    Doing business like that - where common items like batteries are locked up - is awful. I sent them a note about it to their corporate headquarters. Won't go back to that store. Likely done with physical Walmart.

    • kjb434

      In reply to JerryH:

      Stores with heavy security on common items likely have a high skrinkage (theft) rate.

      Within the Houston, TX market I've seen a wide range of Walmarts. Some are as you described located in high crime neighborhoods. In low crime neighborhoods, there is little restriction.

      In California, theft up to about $900 is considered a misdemeanor and rarely prosecuted at all. Makes sense the store would lock things up like batteries.

    • qaelith2112

      In reply to JerryH:

      It's also the only store where I feel like I've just been frisked every time I leave with a purchase. They have at least eased that slightly by having them accost me only if I have any unbagged goods, an improvement from when I had someone going through all my stuff every single time I left, but still utterly annoying when I can just go over to Target and not have someone intercepting me as I'm trying to leave. Funny how they call this employee a "greeter" when their primary job is to worry about the people exiting and the whole greeting part (which I don't want or need anyway) is just a side task since they're made to stand guard at the same door anyway. I'm also bothered that the front checkouts have like 24 lanes where I live and they never have more than 5 or 6 of them open no matter how busy the store happens to be. Then there are the self checkouts, where they can never get all of them to be operational at the same time. There must always be a couple of them out of service for some reason. And where else do you walk through a store and find yourself having to always avoid one particular intersection because you don't want to have the Comcast or AT&T salespeople jumping out in front of you demanding to know who you currently have as your cable provider?

      As for the availability of floor staff, all of what you've described is my experience too. Whenever I need to do business at a perimeter station such as electronics, automotive, or sporting goods, good luck finding someone or getting your turn at them. That one person, if there is such a person, usually has about 20 customers standing all over the place around them trying to get a turn, and the lack of order makes it difficult to figure out who is next. And that thing you described with the basic items being under lock and key? Yeah, that's insane and also true of a lot of oddball items, even some low value things. Seems to me that Wal-Mart is absolutely adverse to hiring a few extra people in a given store (I never even got into the customer service/returns area) even when a few extra people could help a lot of these problems.

      • randallcorn

        In reply to qaelith2112:

        Which the frisking is hilarious as I have seen people walk out with a huge TV on a palette and nobody looked them. They stole it. Just walked out. But OMG my 12 pack carton of diet coke?

  10. bluvg

    Ugh, Walmart. Supporting them supports the way they squeeze suppliers (and now require a presence in Bentonville), ensuring the lowering of the quality of the products they sell. Getting rid of waste is good. Forced reduction of price is not.

    Amazon is no saint, but Walmart... ugh.

  11. jimchamplin

    Free same day delivery. At Walmart in-store prices. Yeah, this is better for me than Prime ever will be, especially with in-store pricing. Currently, our only option is the regional grocer HEB and not only do they charge a damn fee, they also raise the prices for the products by something like 10%.

    Of course, screw Amazon. Not only does Whole Foods pricing absolutely blow, but I’ve got very little interest in paying Jeff Bezos. :)

    • jgraebner

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I can see the advantages (at least in some markets) of Walmart+ over Amazon Prime, but giving money to the Walton family instead of to Jeff Besos doesn't seem like much of a trade off.

  12. Chris_Kez

    Had Walmart not sold Vudu to Comcast-owned Fandango, perhaps Walmart+ could have included some kind of video bundle to better compete with Amazon Prime.

  13. red.radar

    Competition is good. To be honest I don’t use any of the fluffy perks of amazon prime other than occasional video content. If they can give me access to the same goods, deliver them in better shape and beat them on speed. I maybe persuaded.

  14. datameister

    Walmart has always had free shipping for orders over $35, from the warehouse. I think they key difference with Walmart+, that most articles don't emphasis, is basically grocery+stuff delivery from your local store, and generally the same day. So for most people, especially in rural areas, it's not the same as Amazon Prime in anyway shape or form.