On Tuesday, it was reported that Walmart (WMT) was again delaying its much anticipated Walmart+ program. The program, which is to directly compete with Amazon, was initially supposed to launch in early Spring but was postponed until July following the coronavirus pandemic.
The new member program being launched by Walmart is intended to provide an alternative purchasing outlet for customers to get same-day grocery delivery, express 2-hour delivery, members-only deals, and even discounted gas. Walmart+ is also set to be slightly cheaper than Amazon at $98 for an annual membership. It’s not yet known why there is a further delay or if a new release date has been set.
With current record unemployment records stemming from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s yet to be seen how responsive Americans will be to paying for a new subscription service. Currently, Forbes reports that over 20 million Americans are out of work, which means Walmart+ may not yet hold a lucrative appeal to many consumers. Alternatively, the lower subscription price and potential for Walmart-driven discounts could possibly draw new subscribers or woo some away from Amazon.
Another possibility for success with Walmart+ could lie in any unique offerings it has. According to Vox’s Recode, “Walmart executives have hoped the program would strike a balance of being valuable enough that customers will pay for it, while boasting different enough perks from Amazon Prime so that there aren’t perk-by-perk comparisons.”
Most likely, investors will be closely watching trends associated with the new Walmart subscription service when it launches. According to two Survey Monkey surveys conducted through Recode, favorable impression rates from Amazon customers have dropped since January.
At the close of market on Tuesday, Walmart was up by 1.81% to $131.64.
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