Walmart already is seeing a strong customer uptake for its new Walmart+ paid membership program, according to consumer opinion pollster Piplsay.
Meanwhile, strategic advisory firm Brick Meets Click reported that Walmart+ furnishes Walmart with a valuable trove of transactional data that it can leverage for a competitive edge.
Of 20,179 U.S. adults surveyed by Piplsay from Sept. 27 to 28, 11% said they have subscribed to Walmart+ since its Sept. 15 launch. Overall, 53% of respondents had heard about Walmart+, with 27% saying they may enroll in the plan soon and 15% expressing no interest.
Forty-five percent of Walmart+ members reported that they also belong to Amazon’s Prime customer benefits program, while 19% said they migrated to Walmart’s offering from Amazon Prime. For 36% of Walmart+ members surveyed, the signup marked their first such shopping subscription.
Walmart+ offers members unlimited free delivery from stores on orders of $35 or more, fuel discounts of up to 5 cents per gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations and an array of shopping tools — including Scan & Go touch-free payment to skip the checkout line — for $98 per year or $12.95 a month.
“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,” Piplsay said in its survey report, released this week. “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.”
Among Walmart+ member benefits, 35% of those surveyed by Piplsay said they were most excited about unlimited free delivery, followed by same-day/one-hour delivery windows (24%); Scan & Go checkout (14%); fuel discounts (12%); 10% single checkout, unlike Amazon Fresh and Prime Now (10%), and subscription cost (5%), with Walmart+ at $98 annually versus $119 for Prime.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they believe Walmart+ will be a threat to Amazon Prime. And among those interested, about 36% of Millennials and Gen Xers have subscribed to both Walmart+ and Prime.
According to Brick Meets Click, which focuses on digital technology’s impact on food sales and marketing, Walmart+ is “more than just a response to Amazon Prime.”
“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,” Bill Bishop, co-founder and chief architect of Brick Meets Click, said in a blog post. “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.”
For example, he explained, that data will help Walmart identify its most profitable customers, see which products appeal to certain shopper segments, and decipher customer spending patterns that signal purchase needs and/or readiness to stop buying from the retailer.
“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 wrote. “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.”