Walmart will start a new subscription service to try to compete with Amazon’s juggernaut membership program, Prime, by offering unique perks that the rival online retailer does not currently offer, including discounted fuel and prescriptions.
A spokesperson for the Bentonville, Arkansas,-based Walmart confirmed the company was moving forward with the service, which is to be called Walmart+, but declined to provide more details.
The new service will be publicly tested as soon as March.
Walmart, the world’s largest brick and mortar retailer, is launching a new service to try to rival Amazon’s Prime subscription service
Walmart’s new subscription service comes as the retailer is locked in an arms race with Amazon to bring packages faster and faster to customers’ homes. Pictured are Amazon vans on their way to a distribution center for delivery on last year’s Amazon Prime Day, July 16
Amazon’s Prime membership program includes such perks as unlimited next-day shipping on more than 10 million items. Pictured are Amazon packages delivered to a Boston home during last year’s holiday season
The initiative comes as Walmart is locked in an arms race with Amazon to bring packages faster and faster to customers’ homes, VOX reports.
Walmart remains the unchallenged, largest brick and mortar retailer in the world, with more than 11,400 store locations in 27 countries.
However, it lags behind Amazon, which is the largest retailer in the world.
The e-commerce giant jumped 25 spots to #28 on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the world’s biggest public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value.
That was sufficient enough for it to steal the title of the world’s largest retailer away from Walmart, which slipped five spots to #29 on this year’s overall list, reports Forbes.
Amazon’s fortunes are partly thanks to Prime, a $119 per-year membership program that includes such perks as unlimited next-day shipping on more than 10 million items as well as free streaming of music, TV shows and movies.
Walmart has not directly competed with Prime since the Amazon service debuted in 2005, but it has stepped up its game with improvements to its online retail site as well as offering fast shipping.
Despite such efforts, its competitor Amazon has still manged to account for 40 percent of all online retail sales in the US, much in part because of Prime.
Walmart remains in a distant second place, with just slightly more than 5 per cent of the US e-commerce market, Vox reports.
To catch up to Amazon, Walmart introduced a new service last year that offers same-day delivery of fresh groceries from certain stores, and with the perk of delivering directly into a customer’s refrigerator, home or garage.
Walmart employees making the deliveries for the service, InHome Delivery, wear a camera so customers can watch the delivery on an an app.
To help compete with Amazon, Walmart introduced a new service last year that offers same-day delivery of fresh groceries from certain stores, and with the perk of delivering directly into a customer’s refrigerator, home or garage.
Walmart employees making the deliveries for the service, InHome Delivery, wear a camera so customers can watch the delivery on an an app
Customers have the option to pay a yearly $98 fee or a monthly $12.95 fee to subscribe.
The service is expected to be expanded and rebranded into Walmart+ and will include unique perks, such as cheap fuel and lower-costing prescription drugs, which will distinguish itself from Prime, VOX reports.
The plan is still in the testing stages.
Walmart+ could also have feature that allows customers to text message their orders.
Sources said that the amount of the Walmart+ fee could still change, or the retailer might test multiple price points.
Other possible perks may include the retailer’s Scan & Go service, which Walmart briefly tested about two years ago when it allowed shoppers to check out items from its stores without waiting in line.
Amazon runs a line of convenience stores that work using on a similar concept. Customers shopping at Amazon Go stores use an app to indicate what they buy and then leave the store with their items without having to go through a cashier.