retail news in context, analysis with attitude

National Public Radio's Marketplace reports that Walmart has now officially launched "a new subscription program called Walmart Plus. It costs $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, for unlimited shipping and other perks like discounted gas and the ability to pay from your phone when you shop in stores."

It is Walmart's response to Amazon Prime.  The service had been delayed several times when the coronavirus pandemic created different priorities.

KC's View:

I found the story's reference to a Mintel study to be fascinating - that "20% of subscription customers would consider switching to another service if the benefits were more valuable."  Which presumably is a reference to the estimated 150 million Prime members.

To be honest, I'm dubious about whether Walmart would be able to dislodge 30 million Prime members from Amazon … and there is an interesting quote from Tom Meyvis, professor of consumer behavior at New York University’s Stern School of Business.  He suggests that people who don't may not be motivated as much by loyalty as by laziness:  "“We’re lazy, we don’t want to think too much.  So as long as things are going OK, we tend not to change.”

Though, to be honest, I probably couldn't change if I wanted to.  I can't even sample Walmart+ … because when I tried to yesterday, this is the response I got:

That said, Walmart does have to play this game, I think … because Amazon's goal is to be as intertwined in people's lives as possible, there's no question that it had to provide its own alternative to Prime.