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Walmart+ being tested as rival to Amazon Prime

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Membership program reported to be coming soon.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has been testing its own membership program to compete with Amazon Prime, according to published reports. Called Walmart+, the program could launch as soon as next month.

The move is seen as a recognition of how effective the Amazon Prime membership program, which debuted in 2005, has been in fueling customer loyalty and online sales growth.

According to a story on Vox.com, Walmart+ will at first mainly be a rebranding of the retailer’s Delivery Unlimited service, which offers unlimited same-day delivery of groceries for $98 a year. The rebranded Walmart+ program may also include a new feature that would let customers place their grocery orders by text. But sources say Walmart eventually wants to add other benefits to the program, possibly including discounts at Walmart’s pharmacies and its fuel centers, as well as a Scan & Go service for Walmart stores. The specifics of the program or its benefits have not been finalized, according to the article.

The need to come up with an answer to Amazon Prime, which now has more than 150 million members globally, seems urgent. And consumers appear to be willing to pay extra for the right kind of membership program. A recent Clarus Commerce study found that 61% of consumers are willing to invest in paid loyalty programs that offer faster and free delivery. And more than half (54%) of shoppers say they are willing to join premium loyalty programs for groceries and food, the study found, with this number expected to grow in 2020


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