Walmart’s New Subscription Service Rivals Amazon Prime—How Do They Compare?

Walmart’s new subscription service aims to give Amazon Prime some competition. Here’s what the two have in common and where they differ.

Photos: istockphoto.com and walmart.com

At first glance, Walmart+ closely resembles Amazon Prime. Both programs offer free shipping on products purchased online, and both require a yearly (or monthly) membership fee to take advantage of their specials. But consider the differences before you sign up for one—or both.

Cost of Membership

Amazon charges $119 per year, or $12.99 per month, to become a Prime member, while Walmart+ charges $98 per year, or $12.95 per month. Amazon offers a reduced fee for students of just $59 per year, or $6.49 monthly, for the same full benefits other Prime members enjoy, while Walmart+ doesn’t offer special pricing for students. Both retailers offer free trials with full benefits to give you a chance to try them out—Walmart+ for 15 days and Amazon Prime for 30 days.

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Delivery Details

Both Amazon Prime and Walmart+ offer free one- and two-day deliveries, but limitations apply.

  • Plus: Free same-day delivery on grocery orders over $35, but this service isn’t available everywhere. Enter your address at Walmart.com to see if you live within a service area. Even if you don’t, you’ll still get free shipping on nonperishable products, such as TVs and PCs. It just might take longer.
  • Prime: Free shipping on a variety of products as long as the Amazon seller participates in the Prime program, and free same-day (often within two hours) delivery on groceries if you buy from a local Whole Foods store and spend at least $35. Free one- and two-day shipping is available on other Amazon Prime items purchased online.


Photo: walmart.com

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Extra Walmart+ Benefits

In addition to free shipping and delivery, Walmart offers a few other lucrative benefits.

  • Fuel savings: Walmart+ members receive a 5-cent-per-gallon discount at over 2,000 nationwide Walmart, Murphy Express, and Murphy USA gas stations, and the same markdown will soon apply at Sam’s Club gas pumps as well.
  • Scan & Go: Members can download the Walmart app, scan their products as they shop, and then use Walmart Pay to purchase the items for a no-contact shopping experience.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Amazon Prime Privileges

Prime members won’t get a cut on gasoline, but they will receive the following benefits:

  • Product variety: This is one of Amazon’s top draws—the retailer features more than 300,000 items, while Walmart+ currently averages 160,000 items.
  • Streaming content: Amazon Prime Video offers more than 12,000 free movies and access to other channels, including Showtime, for a monthly fee.
  • Smart home integration: Amazon offers its Alexa service, which integrates with various smart home devices, including speakers, security systems, thermostats, and more.

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Which to Choose?

If you purchase many nonfood items, you’ll have access to the widest variety by joining Amazon Prime. If you’re mostly interested in having your groceries delivered for free and live near a participating Walmart, becoming a Plus member might be the best option. Although Amazon partners with Whole Foods stores that offer a range of fresh, healthy foods, their selection is smaller than Walmart’s, and pricier. Additionally, Whole Foods stores are available only in large cities, while Walmart is a staple in smaller communities.

Amazon is the clear winner if you want to take advantage of their streaming services and extensive non-grocery selections. Keep a watchful eye on Walmart, however, to see if the company expands its program to include more services.

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