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Walmart rolls out membership program to compete with Amazon Prime

Walmart+ will make its debut September 15

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Photo (c) Andrei Stanescu - Getty Images
As expected, Walmart has announced the launch of a membership program similar to Amazon Prime. The program, Walmart+, costs $98 per year and launches September 15.

Details of the program leaked in July, and today’s announcement confirms most of them. Members get unlimited free delivery from Walmart stores, fuel discounts, and access to a range of tools designed to speed up the shopping process.

Payment options include the annual fee of $98 or a monthly charge of $12.95. The program is being introduced with a 15-day free trial.

“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer at Walmart. “Customers know they can trust us and depend on us, and we’ve designed this program as the ultimate life hack for them.”

What’s included

Walmart says members will receive:

  • Unlimited free delivery: Delivery will be as fast as same-day on more than 160,000 items from nearby stores. It replaces Delivery Unlimited – a subscription service that allowed customers to place an unlimited number of deliveries for a flat yearly or monthly fee. Current subscribers will automatically become Walmart+ members.

  • Scan & Go: When members are in a Walmart store, they can unlock Scan & Go in the Walmart app and use it to scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay. 

  • Fuel discounts: Members can fill up and save up to five cents a gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations. Sam’s Club fuel stations will soon be added to this lineup.

Not included are items purchased from Walmart.com. However, Walmart already offers free shipping on most orders of $35 or more.

Competing with Amazon Prime

It’s no secret that Walmart+ is aimed at Amazon Prime, another subscription service designed to make the online retailer top-of-mind with consumers.

Prime costs more -- $119 a year -- but offers additional perks like music and video streaming platforms that are included in the monthly fee. Most recently, it added AmazonFresh grocery delivery for customers who have a Prime subscription.

Walmart’s ad slogan is “always low prices.” With the introduction of Walmart+, it’s going after consumers who also value convenience.

“Life feels more complicated than ever,” said Whiteside. “Walmart+ is designed to make it easier – giving customers an option to not have to sacrifice on cost or convenience.” 

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