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Walmart is working on a paid membership program that is said to be a challenger to Amazon’s Prime, according to the Associated Press and multiple other news outlets.
The AP indicates that a spokeswoman said the new membership program will be called Walmart+, and it will attempt to compete with Amazon in speedy delivery service.
Walmart’s membership program, which was first reported by Vox, will either build off its existing grocery delivery subscription service, Delivery Unlimited, or rebrand it. That service costs $12.95 per month or $98 annually and offers a 15-day free trial.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime is $119 per year and includes unlimited one-day shipping on more than 10 million items as well as free streaming of TV shows and movies. Additionally, Prime, which has been around for nearly 15 years, reportedly has more than 100 million subscribers in the United States.
According to Jason Del Rey of Vox’s Recode, Walmart+ would include perks Amazon can’t replicate and the huge retailer plans to start testing the membership program as soon as this month.
“The goal for the program is to eventually save Walmart customers both time and money, and presumably to encourage them to keep spending heavily with the brick-and-mortar giant,” the Recode article states. “Executives believe the program needs to strike a balance of being valuable enough that customers will pay for it, while different enough from Amazon Prime that it doesn’t promote a direct comparison that would likely be impossible for Walmart to win.”
Amazon, which is coming off a record-breaking holiday season in 2019, also recently opened a cashierless supermarket near its Seattle headquarters. The Amazon Go Grocery store is 10,400 square feet, making it significantly larger than the original Go convenience stores.
Walmart also has been working on a variety of initiatives to help enhance its offerings. In January, the brand launched a pilot of an automation program called Alphabot, with the goal to “revolutionize the online grocery pickup and delivery process for associates and customers.” Walmart said Alphabot will provide faster, more efficient order picking as it operates in a warehouse-style space and uses autonomous carts to gather items for online grocery orders.
Last year, Walmart also worked with Nuro on self-driving grocery delivery service. Walmart then launched a pilot program in Houston that used Nuro’s self-driving R1 car.
While it may be difficult for Walmart+ to fully compete with Amazon Prime, it will be interesting to see if the new membership service can make a dent in the online behemoth’s grip on the market and impact the overall Walmart business.
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