Walmart is working on a new membership offering to take on Amazon Prime. Recode was first to report on the forthcoming Walmart+, which will broaden Walmart’s grocery Delivery Unlimited service and include perks like discounts on gas and prescription medication, as well as a Scan & Go service so members wouldn’t have to wait in line.
Recode writes that Walmart has been looking at this for the past 18 months, and the first public tests of Walmart+ could happen as soon as next month. It’s easy to see why Walmart is looking to launch this type of program soon, especially in light its fierce ongoing grocery battle with Amazon.
For its part, Amazon has been making very aggressive moves recently to expand its shopping dominance into the grocery aisle, including:
- Amazon has amassed more than 150 million Prime members globally
- Amazon waived delivery fees for Prime members for two-hour delivery of groceries from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh
- Amazon just launched its first cashierless Go Grocery store
- Amazon is set to launch the first of its full-on supermarkets
- In Q4 2019, Amazon doubled the number delivery orders from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh year-over-year
As you, and Walmart, can see, Amazon has an army of Prime members, and is quickly putting in place the real world means to grab more of their grocery dollars.
I mean, Walmart hasn’t exactly been slacking in the innovation department. It’s experimenting with self-driving delivery vehicles, robot-powered micro-fulfillment, has built out the AI-powered IRL store which uses cameras for real time inventory, and is making a big marketing push for its in-store pickup service.
But Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited, which the company started rolling out in earnest across the US last year, costs $98 for a year. But that’ll only get you free delivery of your groceries. At $119, Amazon Prime is pricier, but you also get music streaming, Prime video, two-day shipping from Amazon and a bunch of other stuff.
So it’s smart for Walmart+ to leveraging what infrastructural advantages it has, pharmacies, gas stations, etc., to fight off Amazon.
One thing is for sure. Walmart+ is just going to be one salvo in a big battle between the grocery retail giants this year.