When it comes to online shopping, you have more options than ever to make the experience enjoyable. There are grocery delivery services, movie and TV show libraries available for live streaming, and free shipping is the foundation of the e-commerce industry. For a long time, the only place to find all these things in one place was Amazon through their Amazon Prime membership.
After years of being the only option, there’s finally a competitor aiming to take back some of the Prime market: Walmart. Walmart Plus is the new service (launched in 2020) from the retail giant that has many similar benefits to Prime, but, as you can imagine, there are a few key differences. As we head into Prime Day, it’s smart to understand the differences in case you’re looking to make a change.
Walmart has slowly built its e-commerce suite over the past half decade or so, to the point that it has inventory that will rival Amazon, offering products from Walmart directly and through the third-party seller network. Like Amazon Prime, a Walmart Plus membership gives you free next-day and 2-day shipping on a wide selection of items from Walmart.com along with free grocery delivery from Walmart stores. What distinguishes Walmart Plus from Prime is the focus on personalized shopping experience and benefits.
Two of the biggest benefits that you can’t find with Amazon Prime are saving gas, mobile scanning, and going in-store shopping. Wherever a Walmart or Murphy gas station is located, Walmart Plus members receive a $0.5 per gallon discount, plus access to member rates at all Sam’s Club gas stations. Mobile Scan & Go is a feature within the Walmart app that allows shoppers in person to move around the store, scan items while shopping, and then checkout at self-checkout without having to scan everything again. This saves quite a bit of time in the checkout queue, and if you ask us, it might be worth it in itself. Walmart Plus also benefits drugstore users — selected prescriptions will be $0 and thousands of other drugs can be purchased for up to 85 percent off.
The lack of a streaming service is a stark difference. While Amazon offers a huge library of TV and movie content alongside its original music service, Walmart hasn’t dip its toes into the programming department, and it’s hard to envision its entry into original programming anytime soon. The retailer makes up for this with its ubiquity – there are over 5,000 Walmart locations in the US (3,500+ of which are supermarkets with groceries).
Walmart Plus costs $12.95 per month or $98 per year. If you pay by the year, you’ll save $21 on Walmart Plus on the annual Amazon Prime payment cost.
Being the only one-store online service for years, Prime has gained an advantage in that it already has 147 million members in the US alone. Prime shipping used to be one of the biggest draws on the service but it has essentially set the standard and has been rivaled by Walmart and many other retailers. This does not mean that Prime shipping has passed, but rather that others have caught up. Amazon Fresh That’s another big plus of a Prime membership – you can find just about anything you need at home with Amazon Fresh, from meats, seafood, fresh vegetables and fruits to pantry and household goods like cleaners and personal care items. Once you decide what you need and spend at least $35 (or $50 in NYC), you get free two-hour delivery, right to your door.
Basic members are also given a discount on many products at Whole Foods Market, which can be shopped online or in person. The free grocery store delivery is a big plus – it saves you time, and in some ways it’s as valuable as money. The catch is that you need to live near Whole Foods, which can be hard to find outside of urban centers – there are just over 500 locations in the US. Another note is that merchandise from Whole Foods generally costs more than a Walmart grocery store, however, you’ll find a large selection of organic and healthy items not always found at Walmart.
Where Amazon really broke itself off is with the programming and online music built into Prime. There are thousands of movies and TV shows available for free with Prime Video, including old favorites and premium original content ($450 million new) Lord of the rings The series is on the way). You can also access Amazon Music, which is similar to Apple Music or Spotify. This investment in entertainment is perhaps Amazon Prime’s biggest benefit — it’s just something we don’t see Walmart ever able to offer. Finally, now is a great time to say Prime Day is coming (June 21-22), the exclusive shopping holiday created by Amazon that gives its members the chance to grab some of the biggest deals of the year. Although in recent years Walmart has conducted similar closing deals on Prime Day for its competitor.
Amazon Prime costs $8.99 per month for Prime Video only and $12.99 per month or $119 per year for full access to Amazon Prime.
In the end, the biggest decision you make here is convenience when it comes to shopping. They both offer the same express shipping and both have grocery delivery service which is very convenient. Prefer a simplified personal shopping experience and gas discounts? Do you live near a Walmart (or two)? If so, Walmart Plus is a great game. If you love TV and movies but also want two-day shipping on just about everything, and probably live near Whole Foods, then Amazon Prime might be your best bet. As long as you choose the right service for you and your shopping habits, you can’t go wrong.
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