For the longest time, Walmart was the 800 pound gorilla retailer that set the standard for its industry. It had the most advanced technology and the biggest influence on the marketplace. Then Amazon came.
At first, Amazon was just an upstart online retailer, far from big enough to threaten Walmart. Then in 2005, Amazon launched Amazon Prime and the retail world was never the same again. In 15 years, Amazon Primes has acquired 150 million subscribers and propelled Amazon to become the most valuable retailer in the world with a market cap of $1.6 trillion.
Meanwhile, Walmart has gone from being 17 times more valuable than Amazon to less than a quarter of the size of Amazon by market cap. It has gone from the 800 pound gorilla to an underdog, and now they have launched a new membership program to compete with Amazon.
Walmart Plus is a subscription membership like Amazon Prime. The membership offers similar shipping benefits as Amazon Prime like unlimited delivery for free, and also includes in-store benefits like gas discounts. Compared to Amazon Prime’s annual subscription cost of $119 per year, Walmart Plus carries a somewhat cheaper price tag of $98 per year.
On the other hand, while Amazon Prime offers dozens of benefits, the benefits of Walmart Plus are limited to 4 – free delivery, in-store pickup, discounted fuel, and mobile scan & go shopping at Walmart stores. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Walmart Plus Same Day Delivery
Just like Amazon Prime, the main benefit offered by Walmart Plus is free delivery. Any order over $35 you place in the “Pickup & Delivery” section of the Walmart app or Walmart.com website is eligible for free delivery under Walmart Plus.
All told, there are more than 160,000 items from tech and toys to household essentials and groceries that you can buy this way.
Walmart promises “as fast as same day” delivery for Walmart Plus members. Walmart Plus orders are shipped from the 2,700 Walmart stores that participate in the program. As a result, whether you get same-day delivery or not depends on if you live close to one of those participating stores.
When you place your Walmart Plus order you get to decide on a 1-hour window within which your order will arrive. For example, you can say you want your order to arrive between 5 pm and 6 pm.
That way, you can make sure you are home when your order is delivered and your groceries will not be sitting outdoor in the sun for hours.
Walmart Plus Free Delivery
- The mobile apps and the Walmart.com website are similarly structured – there is a “Walmart.com” section and there is a “Pickup & delivery” section. Only the items within the “Pickup & delivery” section are eligible for Walmart Plus free delivery. There are more than 160,000 such items.
- To place a Walmart Plus free delivery order, click on the “Pickup & delivery” section. Once you are inside that section, you can shop like you normally would by searching and browsing and placing items you want in your shopping cart. Once your items in your shopping cart add up to more than $35, you are eligible for free delivery
- When you check out the items in your shopping cart and place your order, just specify a 1-hour window within which you want your order to be delivered
- Your order will be delivered to you within the 1-hour window you have chosen.
Walmart Plus In-Store Pickup
One thing that set Walmart Plus apart from Amazon Prime is that with Walmart Plus, you get to take advantage of 2,700 Walmart stores that participate in the program.
When you place an order within Walmart Plus, not only can you have your orders delivered to you within a 1-hour window, but you can also choose to pick up your orders at any one of the 2,700 participating Walmart stores in the US.
How to Place a Walmart Plus In-Store Pickup Order:
- You can use the Walmart mobile apps or the Walmart.com website. They are similarly structured – there is a “Walmart.com” section and then there is a “Pickup & delivery” section. Only the items within the “Pickup & delivery” section are eligible for Walmart Plus in-store pickup. There are more than 160,000 such items.
- To place a Walmart Plus in-store pickup order, click on the “Pickup & delivery” section. Once you are inside that section, you can shop like you normally would by searching and browsing and placing items you want in your shopping cart. Once your items in your shopping cart add up to more than $35, you are eligible for in-store pickup
- When you check out the items in your shopping cart and place your order, just specify a Walmart store for pickup and a 1-hour window within which you want to pick up your order.
- Go to the Walmart store you have chosen within the 1 hour window you have chosen. Your order will be there waiting for you, all paid for, packed, and ready for pickup. There will be no need to shop or bag or wait in line for check out.
Walmart Plus Discounted Fuel
Another unique benefit of Walmart Plus is discounted fuel price. When you fuel up your car at a Walmart fuel station, a Murphy USA station, or a Murphy Express station, you will get a 5 cents per gallon discount. In total, there are more than 2,000 locations where you can get discounted fuel this way.
While a discount of 5 cents per gallon may not seem much, the savings could add up. On average, a driver in the United States uses 656 gallons of fuel per year.
A 5 cents per gallon discount will add up to a total saving of close to $33 per year. If you have 2 drivers in your household you will be saving $66 per year on average.
For households with multiple drivers who drive more than average, it will not be hard to make back the $98 per year subscription fee of Walmart Plus just on fuel savings alone
How to Get Discounted Fuel:
- Open your Walmart mobile app
- Go to the menu
- Select your Walmart Plus account
- Tap on the button “Member prices on fuel”
- The mobile app’s Fuel Finder will find a location nearest to you for fuel
- If you are at a Murphy USA or Murphy Express station, your mobile app will give you a Discount ID. Enter that Discount ID at the pump
- If you are at a Walmart fuel station, scan the designated QR code with your app before pumping your gas
Walmart Plus Mobile Scan & Go
Mobile scan & go shopping is another unique Walmart Plus benefit. With this feature, you can just go to any one of the thousands of Walmart stores in the US and use your Walmart mobile app to scan items as you pick them up from the shelves. After you are done shopping you can just walk out with the items you have scanned. There will be no need to stand and wait in a checkout line.
How to Use Mobile Scan & Go:
- Sign in to your Walmart Plus account in the Walmart mobile app
- Once you are inside your local Walmart store, open the Walmart mobile app
- Tap on the menu of the app. Select your Walmart Plus account. Tap the button “Mobile scan & go”
- Shop as usual. Before placing an item into your shopping cart, scan it with your Walmart app. You will need to weigh items sold by the pound, such as fruits and vegetables, at self-checkout. A Walmart associate will need to verify your ID for items with age restrictions, such as alcohol. You will be able to see a running tally of the total amount of your haul in real time.
- When you are finished shopping, head to a self-checkout register, scan your QR code to finalize payment. Once you have paid, you will receive an electronic Exit Pass and an electronic receipt on your mobile app
- As you leave, a Walmart associate may scan your electronic Exit Pass
Real User Experiences of Walmart Plus
With 150 million subscribers and counting, it is obvious that Amazon Prime has been very well received by users in the real world.
On the other hand, given the young age of Walmart Plus, the jury is still out on it. On Reddit, users are split on the prospect of Walmart Plus. A few sample Reddit comments on Walmart Plus:
“A waste of money”
“It’s worth it if you get groceries delivered, otherwise no.”
“We realized that Amazon Fresh wasn’t going to cut it. With Amazon Fresh, your food will sit in someone’s car for hours while they deliver to several other people on their route. That’s not so great for cold / frozen / perishable items in 110 degree weather. Now with Walmart grocery delivery, our driver may only have one other order to deliver before getting to our house. Usually we’re their only delivery, so the time from the store to our house is minimal.”
The video below is a review of Walmart Plus:
- The reviewer signed up for Walmart Plus, shopped for groceries, and placed an order all on his app. Everything was quick and took just a few minutes in total.
- He got his delivery within the 1-hour window he chose
- The whole experience was “very positive”
- He believed Walmart Plus was worth it for him because he lived close to a Walmart
Benjamin is a certified financial advisor, with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is knowledgeable about various business and financial topics, such as retirement planning and investment management. Ben has been recognized for his work in the financial planning industry. He has also been featured in various publications.