Walmart (NYSE:WMT) today announced the launch of its new membership program, Walmart+, saying the service will be available to all customers beginning Sept. 15.
The service includes unlimited free delivery from local stores, fuel discounts and access to mobile phone in-store checkout. The program is meant to combine the convenience of online shopping with the in-store experience. It does not directly compare to Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime offering as there is still a $35 minimum for free shipping on Walmart.com orders.
Walmart+ membership is priced at $98 per year or $12.95 per month. The retailer previously had a store delivery service called Delivery Unlimited. That grocery delivery service was priced the same, and those members will be automatically converted to Walmart+. The new membership will also include fuel discounts at Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations, with Sam's Club soon to be added. It will also allow members to use the Walmart App to scan and pay for items as they shop in the store, for a faster, contact-free checkout.
There are similarities to the popular Amazon Prime membership service, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. But Prime includes free delivery on all website offerings with no minimum, the Prime Video streaming service, and other perks.
Walmart is distancing its new program from direct comparisons to Amazon Prime. The retail chain's chief customer officer, Janey Whiteside, told CNBC, "We're not launching Walmart+ with the intent to compete with anything else, we're launching it to meet the needs of our customers."