It is an understatement to say that Amazon and Walmart have a strong presence in the U.S. retail shopping space; the two giants dominate the industry and define the market, albeit in distinct spheres. Amazon remains the undisputable king of eCommerce, capturing 53% of retail spending online — a sphere in which Walmart lags at 6.8%, but makes up much of the difference via in-store sales.
To try to make online shopping less of a weakness and more of a strength, Walmart has begun emulating some of Amazon’s strategies since 2020, such as by introducing its membership service, Walmart+. Walmart’s latest move to capture some of Amazon’s eCommerce market share has been to refurbish its website and app to better resemble a modern, Amazon-like experience.
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Two days ago, Walmart’s chief eCommerce officer, Tom Ward, announced that the retail giant is now offering a completely redesigned homepage that offers a personalized and seamless shopping experience the way online shopping should be: “fast, easy, and fun.”
Walmart’s redesigned homepage looks sleek and attractive — and quite a bit like Amazon’s homepage, a resemblance that is likely intentional. Whether this move by Walmart will translate into meaningful gains is the key question.
Since Walmart rolled out Walmart+ in late 2020, the share of U.S. consumers who have memberships has hovered around 15% to 20%, though many of those customers have not been swayed away from Amazon Prime; the share of consumers who exclusively hold a Walmart+ subscription is approximately 3%.
The latest data shows that 3.2% of U.S. consumers exclusively have a Walmart+ subscription, while 21% have both Walmart+ and Amazon Prime.
Although Walmart’s subscription service competes with Amazon Prime, it is clear that Prime is not being meaningfully challenged. An impressive 43% of consumers in the U.S. held only an Amazon Prime subscription as of March this year. When added to the 21% who have both subscriptions, Amazon’s subscription service greatly outshines Walmart’s: An estimated 164 million U.S. consumers have Amazon Prime, roughly 103 million more than the 61 million who have Walmart+.
Walmart’s new website and app aims to close this gap by attracting more online shoppers, in turn boosting Walmart+ subscriptions. The new design highlights the benefits of Walmart+ by offering consumers the option to get their items delivered and then taking them directly to a page offering five months of free Walmart+ if they join today.
The new site and app may also be part of a broader strategy to capitalize on its strengths, including the food and beverage sector. As of Q4 2022, Walmart’s share of food and beverage sales was 18%, while Amazon’s was just 2.6%.
Walmart’s new website neatly organizes products by category and provides consumers with products’ availability for curbside pickup or delivery. Although competing with Amazon’s one-day delivery is challenging for any company, PYMNTS’ data shows that the U.S. is the largest pickup market, with nearly one-third of U.S. consumers who made their most recent purchase online — about 16 million Americans — opting to pick that order up in-store or curbside. Walmart’s established big box presence means that it has a particularly strong ability to capitalize on this growing pickup economy.
Ultimately, Walmart’s new website might have a greatest chance of success by mixing the user-friendliness of an Amazon-like experience with Walmart’s ability to have its products readily available for pickup — a faster-than-Prime method that could sway consumers and close the massive eCommerce gap between the two heavyweights.