Walmart to launch competitor to Amazon Prime in July

Walmart will unveil its subscription service Walmart+ later this month as it races to gain an advantage over competitors such as Amazon, according to a new report.

For $98 a year, subscribers will gain access to same-day delivery on groceries and other merchandise, they will be privy to discounts at Walmart gas stations and gain early access to deals from the nation's largest retailer, Recode reported, citing several sources that it declined to name.

Representatives for Walmart declined FOX Business' request for comment.

However, it remains unclear whether the program will roll out regionally or nationally.

The subscription-based service was supposed to launch earlier this year but the retailer's plans were quickly upended when the novel coronavirus began to rapidly spread across the country, the outlet reported.

The service is said to undercut Amazon's paid subscription service, which launched more than a decade ago. Amazon's program, which entices shoppers through exclusive deals, faster shipping and streaming, comes at a price of $12.99 a month or $119 a year.

Amazon will face more direct competition, and the new program will provide advantages for sellers and customers when the two similar services go head to head, Kunal Chopra, CEO of etailz, a leading e-commerce growth platform told FOX Business.

"By being able to weigh options and not fall into vendor lock-in, Amazon risks losing some sellers and customers to Walmart’s rivaling membership," said Chopra. "For third-party sellers specifically, there is increased competition from Amazon’s private labels on its site."

Representatives for Amazon have not immediately responded to FOX Business request for comment.

Although Walmart has a ways to go to reach the success of the online shopping behemoth, its e-commerce business continues to grow significantly.

In February, the retailer reported that its U.S. e-commerce sales were up 37 percent for the year. When the pandemic struck, Walmart's e-commerce sales spiked significantly.

In May, analysts from market research and insights company eMarketer estimated that Walmart's U.S. e-commerce sales would climb 44.2 percent to $41.01 billion this year. The projection puts Walmart ahead of eBay, which is expected to grow just 3 percent this year although it remains far behind Amazon, analysts noted.

The expected increase is said to stem from Walmart's investment in its online grocery delivery and pickup services, services that consumers have turned to during the pandemic, the company said.

As proof, the company's digital sales surged 74 percent in the first three months of the fiscal year, according to the company's earnings report.

"Walmart has been closing in on Amazon’s e-commerce lead in recent years and the rollout of Walmart+ puts the two within arms reach," Chopra added.

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