Walmart to challenge Amazon with same-day delivery membership service

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Walmart storefront; superchain experiments with cashierless checkout.

Walmart is launching a new membership delivery service called Walmart+ later this month. It’s intent? To challenge Amazon Prime in the same-day delivery market, reports Recode. For $98 a year, customers will be able to receive unlimited same-day orders from the retail giant.

With the online grocery sector reaching a record $7.2 billion in revenue of last month, the two corporations are fighting over a robust market.

Walmart+ Details

Like Amazon’s express merchandise transport service, Walmart+ comes with more than a few appealing features. The program will let users time their order drop-offs, receive limited two-hour deliveries, and ping them when new slots open up. The offering will also notify consumers when new products become available and provide discounts on gas purchases.

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Recode notes that Walmart intends to make the service more appealing by adding more perks in the future. The retailer will incentivize its subscription program with “video entertainment,” but the nature of the content is unknown. The corporation is also putting out a branded Walmart+ credit card sometime after its introduction.

Lastly, Walmart is resurrecting Scan & Go, the smartphone app-based checkout service it mothballed in 2018 exclusively for online delivery members.

Initially, the Bentonville, Arkansas headquartered firm wanted to deploy Walmart+ in late March or April. However, the rapid expansion of the coronavirus outbreak caused the corporation to delay its plans.

Which service is better, Amazon Prime or Walmart+?

Until Walmart’s online grocery delivery offering goes live, comparisons between it and Amazon Prime are only theoretical. If the brick-and-mortar chain’s merchandise transportation service is buggy or overwhelmed at launch, its inviting price point and perks will not matter. On paper, the two platforms do not seem like they are addressing the same consumer interest.

Accelerated product shipping is only one part of the vast Amazon Prime ecosystem. The service includes sizable classic and new film, TV show, book, and music content libraries; photo cloud storage; and membership-exclusive deals. Priced at $119 a year, it is one of the highest value subscription offerings available to the public.

That said, Amazon Prime’s grocery delivery service, facilitated by its Whole Foods subsidiary, has some notable drawbacks. The company’s grocery and household goods selection is limited, and it charges extra for orders shipped within one hour.

On the other hand, Walmart+ seems to have the edge in terms of same-day merchandise delivery. The corporation’s stores offer a broader range of products, and its expedited order pricing looks more consumer-friendly. The grocery juggernaut’s online ordering service should be more widely available as it maintains 4,756 U.S. stores versus Amazon’s 500+ Whole Foods locations.

However, the Seattle based corporation’s membership program features a much more extensive array of perks.

Provided its logistics infrastructure is sound, Walmart could very quickly become the market leader in American online grocery shipping. The brand’s domestic ubiquity should make it the dominant player in the digitized version of its core business. Although, Amazon’s interest in developing an autonomous fleet of delivery vehicles and expansive distribution networks could make a threat in the long-term.

No matter how things shake out, one thing is certain; Instacart will almost certainly launch an ill-advised video streaming service in the next 12 months.

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