Walmart Launches Walmart+, a Rival to Amazon Prime – Maybe?

Retail giant Walmart recently announced a new membership service called “Walmart+,” which gives members access to a number of in-store and online benefits including unlimited free delivery, and fuel discounts from participating gas stations, all for $98 a year. Sound familiar? We think so too.

The Walmart+ vs Amazon Prime comparison is inevitable, and Walmart may be the first chain that has a large enough retail presence to successfully take on the behemoth that is Amazon, where others, including Google, have tried and failed over the years – remember Google Express? We don’t either.

But how closely does Walmart+ compare to Amazon Prime? And what, if any, are the key differences between the two membership services?

 

Walmart+ vs Amazon Prime: Key Differences and Similarities

Pricing:

One of the most obvious differences with Walmart+ is that it is slightly cheaper compared to Amazon Prime, with an annual subscription costing $98, compared to Prime, which costs $119 a year.

Delivery/Pick-up/In-Store Options:

Both Walmart+ and Amazon Prime offers free, unlimited two-day shipping across their entire inventory of products. Walmart+ however, will also include in-store pick up delivery options given their retail presence as well as free same-day delivery/pick up on groceries, which may be one of the key differentiating perks, especially now in this age of COVID-19.

While Amazon can use Whole Foods to a certain extent for grocery and in select cities, offer same-day delivery, they are not as wide-spread as Walmart’s brick-and-mortar retail foothold with over 4,000 stores across the United States that are within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population according to the company. For those who do want to shop in-store, Walmart+ also offers the additional benefit and ability for members to leverage their “Scan & Go” system, which allows members a touch-free shopping experience in store by scanning items with their phone as they shop and pay as well, all through the app.

Additional Member Benefits:

An additional perk to Walmart+ members is fuel discounts across 2,000 participating gas stations at Walmart, Murphy USA, Murphy Express, and eventually Sam’s Club gas stations.

 

However, the most glaring deficit, and where Amazon Prime wins, is that with the slightly higher priced Prime membership comes access to Amazon’s suite of streaming services at no additional cost, including Prime Video, Prime Music, as well as access to an extensive library of eBooks and audio books.

 

What Does this Mean for Consumers and Advertisers?

From a consumer standpoint, Amazon Prime and warehouse stores like Costco have already made retail subscriptions commonplace. While Prime certainly wins out in terms of the additional entertainment benefits, Walmart+ has the benefit of more affordable and mainstream grocery options in addition to more convenient in-store shopping. Since each offer unique value propositions, retail subscriptions may become like streaming subscriptions, with customers seeking multiple subscriptions for their household needs.

For advertisers, data is still king, and will continue to reign supreme especially as it relates to the invaluable 1st party user/sales data. Given the inevitable shift to a cookie-less world with rising concerns surrounding privacy issues, Walmart+’s future wealth of consumer data can attract advertisers to Walmart Media Group’s marketing opportunities including their newly introduced self-service platform. Currently, Walmart is a very distant 2nd to Amazon in terms of media advertising according to a 2019 eMarketer study.

Whether or not Walmart+ will be a commercial success and a viable rival to Amazon from both a consumer and advertiser standpoint, only time will tell. Amazon does have a 15-year head start over Walmart in this space. However, consumer adoption of valuable services only gets faster. With the stiff competition, we can surely expect more member and advertiser benefits to be announced in the near future for both Walmart and Amazon.

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