Walmart is taking the next step in growing its e-commerce presence, launching a new membership service.
The new service, called Walmart+, will launch Sept. 15, 2020, and is likely designed as a competitor to Amazon Prime. Walmart+ will offer customers a range of benefits include unlimited free delivery, Scan&Go, fuel discounts and more.
According to a company release, Walmart+ will also have a store component, with a reach of 4,700 Walmart stores. In addition, 2,700 stores will be able to provide same-day delivery in some instances.
“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” Walmart’s chief customer officer Janey Whiteside said in a statement. “Customers know they can trust us and depend on us, and we’ve designed this program as the ultimate life hack for them. Walmart+ will bring together a comprehensive set of benefits where we see the greatest needs from our customers and where our scale can bring solutions at an unprecedented value.”
The membership program will cost $98 per year or $12.95 per month, and memberships will be available starting Sept. 15. Free 15-day trial memberships will be available.
Walmart+ was first announced in February 2020 with Vox breaking the story of the new membership program. The company had been developing the paid subscription model over the past 18 months when the news broke about the program.
Walmart already had a delivery service, called Delivery Unlimited, which charged $98/year for grocery shopping. There was speculation in February that Walmart+ would be a partial rebrand of Delivery Unlimited, which the company confirmed, saying that existing Delivery Unlimited customers would be converted into Walmart+ members. Through both services, customers are able to order an unlimited number of items at in-store prices for the flat yearly (or monthly) fee.
In store, the Walmart+ service allows customers to use Scan&Go in the Walmart app to scan items as they go and pay using Walmart Pay. Fuel discounts will also be available to Walmart+ customers, allowing them to save up to five cents per gallon at Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations. Sam’s Club fuel stations are also expected to be added to this list.
With the introduction of Walmart+, the Bentonville retailer is wading into a space that Amazon has largely dominated. Amazon Prime, which also offers free unlimited deliveries along with a bevy of streaming options, was launched in 2005. Amazon currently is the leading e-commerce site, pulling in $280.52 billion in 2019.
Walmart’s announcement of the new membership program lifted its stock price on Tuesday morning, as well. On Monday, Aug. 31, the company’s stock closed at $138.85 per share, and it opened at $141.20 on Tuesday morning. As of 9:05 a.m., the stock was up approximately 4 points, or 2.94 percent, to $142.94 per share.