Walmart+ launches as Amazon Prime competitor with brick-and-mortar benefits

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Black Friday at Walmart

After months of speculation, teases, and reports, Walmart is officially announcing its new membership program. Walmart+, as it’s officially known, is set to launch as a direct Amazon Prime competitor with a few differences. Specifically, Walmart is hoping to use its biggest advantage over the online giant, brick and mortar, to its benefit.

Walmart+ combines the online presence of Walmart with 4,700 traditional retail locations to provide same-day delivery at over half of those stores. That’s on top of various other perks being announced today, like discounted fuel rates, in-app shopping with touch-free payment in-stores, and more. We have full details, including pricing information, below.

Membership arrives as direct Amazon Prime competitor

The latest Walmart creation will be a full-on membership program, very similar in pricing and scale to what Amazon has done with Prime. It will cost shoppers $98 per year or $12.95 per month, so of course, there is a discount if you’re willing to pay upfront. Amazon’s membership program goes for $119 annually or $12.99 per month.

Initially, Walmart is toting three pillars of its new membership service, as described below:

  • Unlimited free delivery: 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 allows customers to place an unlimited number of deliveries for a low, flat yearly or monthly fee. Current subscribers will automatically become members.
  • Scan & Go: Unlock Scan & Go in the Walmart app — a fast way to shop in-store. Using the Walmart app, customers can scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay for a quick, easy, touch-free payment experience.
  • Fuel discounts: Fill up and save up to 5 cents a gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations.

COVID-19 plays a role as well

As noted above, one of the key features of this program is the flexibility that comes for shoppers. On top of being able to place orders online and quickly pick up in-store, Walmart is introducing contact-free payments.

Essentially, you’ll be free to move about the store and pick up items and pay directly on your smartphone. There are similar vibes to Amazon Go shopping locations, with its autonomous feels, but of course, Walmart will have plenty of staff at its stores as usual. What this means in today’s COVID-19 world is that shoppers will be required to have minimal interaction while shopping.

Walmart+ will be rolling out to customers before long with the opportunity to sign up for a 15-day trial initially before the regular fees kick in.

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