Why Walmart’s Loyalty Program Could Out-Number Amazon Prime

Power Retail By Power Retail | 06 Oct 2020

Walmart’s debut of Walmart+ has already started to shake up the e-commerce industry within the United States, only a few weeks after its launch.

Walmart+ has been on the market for less than a month, and it has already amassed thousands of subscribers. According to a survey from Piplsay, 11 percent of respondents said they have already signed up for the membership program, with 45 percent saying they were also members of the Amazon Prime program.

According to a study from Digital Commerce 360, ‘nearly half’ of regular online shoppers in the US have expressed interest in the service, with 47.7 percent saying they’re ‘very likely’ to enroll in the program.

What is Walmart+?

Walmart+ was announced on September 1st, and was launched two weeks later on September 15th.

The loyalty program allows shoppers to get discounts on fuel, unlimited free deliveries with purchases over $35 and Scan & Go touch-free payments.

The Scan & Go service allows customers to scan their items in a physical store and purchase the products without having to wait in line.

“Walmart debuted its own paid subscription service called Walmart Plus to ramp up its online and delivery presence in the face of the coronavirus pandemic,” said a representative from Piplsay. “With several new features like Scan & Go purchasing and discounts on gas, the retail giant is all set to bring some serious competition in the online retail space, most notably to Amazon Prime. Already a household name in the country, Walmart’s latest offering comes at just the right time before the holiday season kicks in.”

What Excites Online Customers about Walmart+?

For regular online shoppers, 35 percent of survey respondents said they were most excited about the free delivery options. Furthermore, 24 percent said the highlight of the program is the same-day and one-hour delivery windows.

Changing customer expectations and behaviour plays a huge role in the popularity of Walmart+, including the increased interest in shopping for groceries online amid the pandemic.

“More shoppers are now buying groceries online, and Walmart is the country’s leading grocery retailer and has reported a big increase in online food sales,” explained Lauren Freedman, the Director of Consumer Insights at Digital Commerce 360.

“Plus, many consumers are consolidating their purchasing among fewer retailers, and Walmart seems to be among those gaining ground as a result.”

Is Walmart+ Just an Amazon Prime Competitor?

Not exactly. What appears on the surface as a direct rival service, is actually more than just a competitor to Amazon Prime.

For starters, Walmart+ is USD $21 cheaper than its rival. Moreover, it is also offering a way to connect with customers to collect and understand its transaction data.

“The big news is that it shows Walmart has rethought its approach to loyalty and will now be leveraging customer management. And this shift has significant implications for every retailer that competes with Walmart,” said Bill Bishop, the Co-Founder of Brick Meets Click.

“Sure, there are a lot of similarities between these two large- scale subscription programs, but the big change is that Walmart+ adds a key capability that the company didn’t have until now: a way to connect one-to-one with many of its best customers by collecting ‘item identified’ customer transaction data.”

“The power behind Walmart+ and its data is that it positions Walmart to leverage AI/machine learning to implement a next-generation of customer management that makes it into an even better tool for meeting the unique needs of its customers,” Bishop explained.

“As Walmart begins to reward and incent customers below the radar, it will be a greater threat to the competition. Retailers that aren’t maintaining and utilizing data from their own loyalty programs will be at a greater disadvantage.”

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