At $98 a year, a Walmart subscription service would cost less than Amazon Prime, which carries an annual price tag of $119 and includes free two-day grocery delivery, access to Prime Video content, discounts at Whole Foods stores and other benefits.
Amazon is the dominant online retailer, with $280 billion in revenue in 2019, virtually all of it from e-commerce. Walmart’s global e-commerce sales last year approached $50 billion, according to CNBC. Walmart said online sales soared 74% in its most-recent quarter, as shoppers stockpiled food and other essentials and booked online deliveries to avoid store visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart’s grocery business has been driving sales in its e-commerce unit, which remains unprofitable. The company has been looking for ways to sell higher-margin merchandise on the internet. Walmart executives said they expect e-commerce to become an increasingly important part of the business.
“The strategy that we’ve been implementing around omnichannel is the right strategy,” said Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer, at the company’s annual meeting with shareholders in June, conducted virtually because of the pandemic.
“When you look at the [recent] mix shift that we had between e-commerce in our stores, that is something that we think will accelerate going into the future,” Biggs said.