Wal Mart Is Launching Its Subscription Service September 1-5, Upgrading Contest With Amazon Prime

Walmart Tuesday set a September 15 launch date for its much-rumored membership service, Walmart+, a nearly $100 a year subscription plan similar to  Amazon’s popular Prime service, with the potential to turn shoppers into loyal members who look to meet a number of needs within the Walmart ecosystem.

As part of Walmart+, priced at $98 a year or $12.95 a month (which would be $155.4 a year), consumers get unlimited delivery from stores without an additional fee, including the brand’s 2,700 stores that offer same-day delivery, part of Walmart’s ubiquitous network of more than 4,700 stores.

Members save up to 5 cents a gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations, with plans to add Sam’s Club fuel stations to the lineup soon.

The company, in a statement issued Tuesday, promises to “leverage its wide-ranging strengths to add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings,” which also follows the Prime playbook.

Amazon Prime was introduced in February 2005, as an unlimited, two-day shipping service on 1 million items; with a then-price tag of $79 a year.

Today, the service is $119 annually in the U.S., includes free access to movies and music, along with discounts at and same-day delivery from Whole Foods; with Prime members spending and shopping more often than non-members and streaming double the amount of content watched a year ago, according to Amazon executives.

Technewsstar reported last month that Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional grocery, this spring began testing a $79 annual delivery service that functions much the same as the initial Amazon Prime.

KEY BACKGROUND

As the nation’s largest retailer, with revenues of $524 billion for its last fiscal year, Walmart can use its scale to offer services few retailers can match in terms of getting a variety of goods to consumers’ doorsteps quickly. It’s yet to be seen what other perks Walmart has in store. A big benefit for Prime members, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, is streaming access to movies and music for no additional cost. Earlier this year, NBCUniversal’s Fandango division acquired Vudu, the digital movie and TV unit of Walmart, according to Deadline, but don’t be surprised to see some member access in the future. Founded in 2004 and acquired by Walmart in 2010 for $100 million, Vudu offers about 10,000 movies and TV titles through its streaming service.

TANGENT

Amazon may become one of the first retailers to deliver goods to a consumer’s front door from the sky. The Federal Aviation Administration designated Amazon Prime Air as an “air carrier,” according to Bloomberg. That allows Amazon to begin its first commercial deliveries in the U.S. under a trial program, using the high-tech devices it unveiled for that purpose last year

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