Walmart debuted its long-awaited membership program, Walmart+, on Tuesday, which includes perks like unlimited delivery and fuel discounts.
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Under the retailer's new subscription service, which reportedly had been delayed multiple times due to the coronavirus pandemic, shoppers will receive unlimited free delivery on more than 160,000 items from stores (shoppers must spend a minimum of $35), fuel discounts and "access to tools" that are said to make shopping even faster, according to Walmart.
The official launch indicates the retailer's investment in its e-commerce sector, which has seen exponential growth over the course of the pandemic. In the three months through June, the retailer saw a 79% surge in profits as more Americans ordered goods online while at home. E-commerce revenue spiked 97% from the same time a year ago, while sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 9.3%.
The service also shows the retailer's effort to boost its edge over competitors such as Amazon.
Walmart + costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. The program just barely undercuts Amazon's paid subscription service, which launched more than a decade ago. Amazon's Prime program, which entices shoppers through exclusive deals, faster shipping and streaming, costs $119 a year or $12.99 a month.
More than 2,700 Walmart stores will offer same-day delivery. The delivery service was previously known as Delivery Unlimited. Current subscribers to the service will automatically become Walmart+ members, Walmart said.
Subscribers will save up to 5 cents a gallon at Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations. Sam’s Club fuel stations will be added to this lineup in the future.
Members will also have access to its Scan & Go app where they can shop and pay through their mobile devices and skip the checkout line.
Walmart hopes to "leverage its wide-ranging strengths to add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings," in the future.
The new program comes in addition to Walmart’s free curbside pickup, NextDay delivery and two-day delivery.
This story, originally published Sept. 1, has been updated to reflect the launch of the subscription service on Sept. 15