Walmart finally launched its long-promised membership program earlier this week.

By Jelisa Castrodale
September 04, 2020
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Earlier this week, Walmart announced the details of Walmart+, its long-anticipated (and long-delayed) membership program, which is basically its own in-house version of Amazon Prime. Walmart+ will be available from September 15, and the $98-per-year (or $12.95-per-month) program will allow members to receive unlimited free delivery from Walmart stores, including same-day delivery, where available. 

The other benefits that will be available on launch day are Scan & Go, which allows shoppers who have the Walmart app to, yes, scan all of their items while they're still shopping, and to check out using Walmart Pay. Walmart+ members will also save "up to 5 cents a gallon" when they buy their gas at Walmart, Murphy USA, or Murphy Express. (The discount will also be available at Sams Club fuel stations "soon," according to the company.) 

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“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” Janey Whiteside, Walmart's chief customer officer, said in a statement. “Customers know they can trust us and depend on us, and we’ve designed this program as the ultimate life hack for them. Walmart+ will bring together a comprehensive set of benefits where we see the greatest needs from our customers and where our scale can bring solutions at an unprecedented value.”

Walmart+ has been compared to Amazon Prime since the first rumors about the program started to make their way around the internet. It is $21 cheaper than Amazon Prime, which is currently $119 per year, for customers who don't receive any kind of discount. Walmart was reportedly ready to launch the program in March or April, but changed its plans due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Recode, it pushed the launch back to July, and then delayed it again, before announcing that the program would officially begin later this month. 

Last month, Walmart took another step toward closing the gap with Amazon, by partnering with Instacart to offer on-demand grocery delivery in four U.S. cities. “Today, we welcomed Walmart to the Instacart marketplace for the first time in the U.S. Instacart now delivers from Walmart locations in three California markets—Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego—as well as Tulsa, Oklahoma,” an Instacart spokesperson told CNBC. "The new partnership brings thousands of items—from groceries, alcohol and pantry staples to home decor and improvement, personal care, electronics and more—at everyday low prices from Walmart stores to customers’ doors in as fast as an hour.”

Walmart has pledged to expand its Instacart delivery offerings to other cities, and it says that it will also expand the list of perks that come with a Walmart+ membership. Get ready, Amazon.