It wasn’t always challenging for Walmart to keep up with Amazon’s power. As a matter of fact, Walmart used to generate much more profit than Amazon back in the days when Amazon had just started.
When Amazon was becoming a big player, it still couldn’t compete much with the brick-and-mortar retailer- Walmart. Then, Amazon Prime came into the scene.
When Amazon launched its paid subscription service in 2005, everything started to change. It wasn’t as celebrated initially, but here we are, fifteen years later, in a world where Amazon Prime is the primary reason why the e-commerce king has overthrown Walmart.
But Walmart isn’t going to sit back quietly anymore. It is preparing to step on the battlefield with its membership program called Walmart+.
Re-branding the Delivery Unlimited Service
Walmart+ is going to be a rebrand of Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited service.
Walmart launched the service last year, enabling customers to make unlimited grocery orders from its 1600+ US stores for a $98 annual or $12.95 monthly membership fee. It enables them to get free same-day delivery of fresh groceries.
But Walmart is now planning to revamp that service to try and get a slice of that massive Amazon Prime pie.
One of the features the retailer plans to start testing soon is enabling customers to place orders via text messages. Let’s just hope Walmart has learned something from its Jetblack shopping service shutting down and makes its new text message-based feature work better.
However, Walmart is going to really challenge Amazon with its solid comeback by adding irreplicable perks to Walmart+. Some of the features it could include could be, getting discounts at Walmart gas stations and Walmart pharmacies.
It might even include a Scan & Go service, a self-service enabling customers to pay for their orders without waiting in line. Walmart abandoned cashier-less checkouts a few years ago, but now may be the perfect time to reconsider, because Amazon has already made that move.
Amazon recently opened its first cashier-less grocery store, Amazon Go, allowing customers to take what they need and simply walk out of the store. They need the Amazon Go app to enter, which automatically sends them a receipt for bought merchandise once they leave.
There aren’t many details about Walmart+ at the moment, as the retailer is really quiet about it. That’s probably smart, as the service is still in its testing phase, but we do hope we’ll get more scoop on it before it finally launches.
What we do know (and, hopefully, the rumors are true) is that Walmart+ will offer perks that Amazon Prime doesn’t. That way, it’ll stand out and not be compared to Prime. If it ends up as a comparison to Prime, it would be very unlikely for it to stand a chance.
Going Against Amazon Prime Might Be Impossible
Amazon has built an online empire. We all know it. Amazon Prime counts 150+ million members worldwide at the moment. It’s tough for anyone to compete with that.
For a $119 annual fee, it provides unlimited one-day and same-day shipping for millions of its products, unlimited music, and video streaming services, and much more.
But Amazon doesn’t seem to stop. The e-commerce king is continuously coming up with new ways to attract even more customers, making it nearly impossible for anyone to keep up the pace.
Four years ago, Amazon even started drawing in low-income groups, enabling monthly Prime membership to meet those customers’ needs.
Three years ago, it even started providing a 45% Prime membership fee discount to people living on government subsidies.
These and many other Prime perks are appealing to a lot of people, even those who continue shopping at Walmart. But many of them could eventually start using Amazon for grocery shopping too.
Walmart’s currently bigger than Amazon when it comes to grocery shopping, but the tables may turn entirely in the future.
Ramping Up Delivery Services
Both Walmart and Amazon keep sprucing up their delivery services.
Amazon now offers free one-day delivery for orders of at least $35 on more than 10 million of its products. Consumers don’t even need to have a Prime membership to enjoy this service.
On the other hand, Walmart offers unlimited two-day shipping on a significantly smaller number of grocery products, but at half the price.
One-day delivery is still not very plausible for Walmart. It manages to keep the costs down by having the same workers pick up and deliver goods. To make one-day delivery possible, the retailer would need to hire more workers, which would lead to more expenses.
Walmart recently unveiled grocery-picking robots to speed up efficiency with online orders, so it seems to be on the right path to improve its cost-efficiency and generate more revenue.
If its robotic automation systems pan out, same-day delivery at Walmart could become the new normal. It remains to be seen, but it does look promising.
So, who’s winning the Walmart vs. Amazon fight?
Amazon has grown so big that it might just be impossible for anyone to stand against it anytime soon. From where we stand now, it doesn’t seem that Walmart+ will be a match for Amazon Prime.
But it will be big. It will help Walmart grow exponentially, perhaps so much so that it eventually acquires enough power to get back on its throne. That’s a far cry from now, but who knows? Maybe Walmart+ is an excellent starting point for putting a dent in Amazon’s dominance.
If it does eventually come up with perks that Amazon Prime doesn’t and won’t offer, it could really mean a big win for Walmart.
One thing’s for sure: it’s going to continue to be an exciting fight to watch.
We’ll continue following the story of these two brands to see how it develops, especially once Walmart+ finally rolls out.
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