The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed some plans and even scrapped others and, for a time, things didn’t seem to look good for Walmart’s subscription program. Nearly half a year delayed, grocery king has finally taken the veils off Walmart+ and it might not be all that it was rumored and expected to be. With only three exclusive features, many will probably call it dead on arrival but the company seems to believe its “ultimate life hack” has much more to offer.
It’s not that difficult to immediately compare Walmart+ to Amazon Prime, especially considering how the former was built up by rumors and leaks to rival the latter. The two, however, couldn’t be more different in terms of vision and focus. Not to mention the fact that Amazon Prime pretty much encompasses and empire that goes beyond just shopping.
In contrast, Walmart+ seems to keep its feet solidly on the in-store grocery experience, just with an additional online flair. One of its biggest perks, in fact, isn’t even new but a rebranded Delivery Unlimited, offering members unlimited free delivery of items across a wide range of categories with the same in-store prices.
Some Walmart customers, however, will probably still prefer to drive out to the nearest store, in which case Walmart+’s fuel discounts will help them save more to buy more. Scan & Go, which allows buyers to scan products with their phones as they put them in their cart and then scan the phone at checkout for wireless payment is probably perfectly timed during this pandemic.
At $98 per year, though, those three membership benefits seem almost too little, too late to take on Amazon at its own game. Walmart does promise that more perks are coming and hopefully soon, though it probably has fewer resources to bank on when it comes to services outside of its core grocery business. Then again, Walmart does have to make a delicate balancing act to ensure that Walmart+ doesn’t encroach too much on what is perceived to be its true competitive advantage: everyday low prices for anyone who simply walks into a Walmart store.