Walmart, in a bid to stem eCommerce losses and compete more directly with Amazon, is working on a new endeavor called Walmart+ to compete with Prime, according to a report by CNBC.
Over the last year and a half, Walmart has been exploring the option of a paid subscription model that would offer certain perks Amazon wouldn’t be able to match.
Walmart could start testing the new program as soon as March. The news was first reported by Vox, and while a Walmart spokesperson confirmed the new initiative was called Walmart+, they didn’t offer any further details.
The new membership program reportedly may include an option where customers could place orders through text. According to reports, no fee amount has yet been set for the subscription service.
Membership in Amazon Prime costs $119 a year, and customers get unlimited one-day shipping along with access to Amazon’s streaming services, which include movies, TV and music. The logistics and eCommerce giant says it has over 150 million Prime members around the world.
In trying to grow its customer base online, Walmart is looking to develop an eCommerce model that will be successful and competitive.
Walmart does offer unlimited, same-day delivery of groceries for $98 a year. The new service would essentially be a rebrand of this.
The long-term vision for the program, according to Vox, is for the company to add more perks for customers, like discounts on prescriptions and fuel, as well as a service that would let shoppers check out without waiting in line.
Amazon has recently been targeting lower-income households, who tend to traditionally shop at Walmart. It added a Prime discount of 45 percent for people on government assistance, and it also has a monthly payment options. There are also ways for customers to pay for orders using cash.
Some Walmart executives had reportedly been less than enthusiastic in the past about the idea of a subscription service, saying that the company’s everyday low prices should be enough to entice shoppers to use Walmart as a shopping and eCommerce destination.