Walmart Offers Customers on Government Assistance Walmart+ Discounts

Walmart is continuing its efforts to court customers who receive government assistance.

The retail giant on Thursday (July 20) announced the debut of its Walmart+ Assist program, which offers customers on government assistance half off a monthly or yearly Walmart+ paid membership plan.

“Walmart+ Assist was designed to do exactly what’s in the name: assist those who need it most,” the company said in a news release. 

“We’re making it easier and more accessible for government-assisted customers to become members and take advantage of the full suite of savings Walmart+ has to offer them.”

Walmart noted in its news release that it had launched programs to help customers who received government assistance before. In 2019, it was among the first retailers to take part in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchase pilot, which lets customers pay with their SNAP benefits online.

In the past year, Walmart has taken a number of steps to entice consumers to sign up for its Walmart+ program, including offering early shopping deals for Black Friday, a partnership with streaming service Paramount+, free delivery for online orders, and discounts at gas stations.

And while the company has been courting higher-income customers of late, research by PYMNTS shows that it may not be able to reach the penetration it wants by targeting only the wealthy.

PYMNTS’ study “Changes in Grocery Shopping Habits and Perception” found that 57% of consumers who make more than $100,000 annually purchase at least some grocery products online, and 47% of those who make between $50,000-$100,000 reported the same. In contrast, just 33% of those who make less than $50,000 purchased groceries online.

The launch of Walmart+ Assist comes as the company is — a PYMNTS wrote earlier this week — “pushing frugality” among parents doing back-to-school shopping.

The retailer last week said it would let parents shop for this year’s school year with items fixed at last year’s prices.

“With 80% of customers expecting to spend more on supplies this year … we’re excited to offer the school supply basket at the same prices as last year,” Walmart said in a statement. 

The 80% number the company uses comes from the National Retail Federation, which has forecast that back-to-college expenditures will jump to $94 billion this year, topping the previous record by around $20 billion.