Walmart has launched a new subscription service called Walmart Plus (or Walmart+), which brings some serious competition to online retail, most notably Amazon Prime.
Here we'll tell you how much it costs and what exactly is on offer. We've compiled the following information to provide a definitive, non-biased picture on what to expect from Walmart Plus. It should help you decide which online retailer is more deserving of your subscription fee.
What is Walmart Plus?
In a nutshell, it's Walmart's version of Amazon Prime. In other words, a subscription service that includes next-day (or even same-day) delivery of items sold by Walmart, including groceries, electricals and other goods.
Walmart already offered a service called Delivery Unlimited. This cost $98 a year (or $12.95 if paying monthly) and meant you didn't have to pay for each individual grocery delivery. It launched last year and quickly spread to 1400 stores across the US.
So how does Walmart Plus differ from Delivery Unlimited? Well, the pricing is the same, but you'll get more perks for your money. For one thing, free delivery applies to a far wider range of Walmart's offerings than just food and beverages. Walmart Plus membership also includes discounts for gas at participating gas stations, and you get access to Scan & Go in the Walmart app, a faster way to shop in-store.
In order to qualify for free delivery you have to spend at least $35. But in some cases you can get items delivered the very same day.
When did Walmart Plus launch?
According to reports, Walmart Plus was originally meant to launch back in late March or April, but this was derailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The service officially launched on September 15th. It's available all across America.
How much does Walmart Plus cost?
Walmart Plus costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. That works out at about $2 a week, and it pays for itself in two deliveries a month (based on the standard delivery charge of $7.95).
The keen-eyed will note that Walmart's new free-delivery service is cheaper than Amazon Prime, which costs $12.99 a month or $119 a year. Although Amazon's Prime membership free trial lasts one month, while Walmart Plus' is just 15 days.
What does Walmart Plus include?
Walmart Plus is quite a proposition. It offers:
– Unlimited free delivery, including in-store prices as fast as same-day on more than 160,000 items from tech and toys to household essentials and groceries. This service was previously known as Delivery Unlimited – a subscription service that allowed customers to place an unlimited number of deliveries for a low, flat yearly or monthly fee. Delivery Unlimited subscribers have automatically become Walmart Plus members.
– Subscribers will be able to unlock Scan & Go in the Walmart app, a faster way to shop in-store. Using the app, customers can scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay for a quick, easy, touch-free payment experience.
– 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. Walmart says Sam’s Club fuel stations will soon be added to this lineup, too.
These benefits come in addition to existing customer options such as Walmart’s free curbside pickup, next-day delivery and two-day delivery. Naturally, Walmart says it will continue to offer delivery options with a per-delivery transaction fee so that customers can choose the service that’s best for them.
Walmart Plus works just like Walmart's Delivery Unlimited grocery service. In other words, once you've checked your location is eligible for delivery, you book a delivery slot, load up your online shopping cart with goods, and check out.
But as we've said, Walmart Plus includes a much wider range of products than just groceries. In the future, the Bentonville firm promises it will leverage its strengths as a physical store giant to "add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings".
For instance, Walmart is also rumoured to be taking on Amazon's digital video offering, Amazon Prime Video, as well as Netflix, Disney Plus and the rest, but that's expected to come further down the line – and presumably as part of Walmart Plus. For now, customers can enjoy a family entertainment offering called Camp by Walmart. Designed to mimic the traditional summer camp (so many of which have been put on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic), it includes activities like fitness, and arts and crafts, with celebrity 'camp counsellors' including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James. It launched on 1st July.
Walmart and Amazon always price match each other, especially around big sale events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, so look out for big discounts then. Amazon has delayed Prime Day this year – it's now expected to take place in October.
Walmart Plus vs Amazon Prime: which is better?
Walmart has a big fight on its hands – Prime launched 15 years ago, after all. And thanks to its additional Prime Video and Prime Music services, it has firmly established itself as fantastic value for money.
But Walmart is itself a retail giant, and it has the benefit of thousands of actual, trusted, bricks-and-mortar hypermarket stores. It will no doubt want to leverage this fact (and its loyal customer base) to bring the pain to Amazon. It'll be fascinating to see how this battle for the nation's wallets plays out.