Undercutting rival Amazon on price, Walmart has confirmed the launch of a membership program costing $98 a year.
Walmart+ will launch September 15. It features unlimited delivery, discounts on gas and “scan and go” technology to speed trips through the company’s stores.
Word first surfaced in July that the retail giant was looking to roll out the program. Its pricing is significantly lower than Amazon Prime, which is $119 a year. Prime, which launched in 2005, also includes an array of benefits, including video streaming. Initial reports about Walmart’s plans indicated that video would be part of the mix. The official launch announcement Tuesday did not include any mention of video, and a company spokesperson did not initially respond to a query about that dimension of the program.
“In the future, the company will leverage its wide-ranging strengths to add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings,” the announcement said.
A 15-day free trial will be offered, and paying $12.95 on a monthly basis is also an option.
The Walmart+ news comes amid another major development: bidding for TikTok. Walmart emerged last week as a surprise candidate to be part of a takeover of the social media upstart, in a joint offer with Microsoft. That combo and a bid by Oracle are believed to be the leading scenarios, and CNBC reports that a winner could be selected as soon as Tuesday. Parent company ByteDance, though, will have to jump through hoops in China before the sale can be completed.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in early August warning ByteDance that TikTok would be banned in the U.S. (as it has been in India) unless it is sold to a U.S.-based company. The conflict over the app is part of a lengthy series of clashes between the U.S. and China. TikTok, which has grown more than 800% since 2018, now reports 100 million active users.
Walmart stock rose nearly 3% in early trading, reaching $142.60.
“We are a company committed to meeting our customers’ needs,” said Janey Whiteside, the company’s chief customer officer. “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.”
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