The Walmart shopping experience can spark both debate and laughter, but most people would agree it’s the number one place to shop for the best deals. Walmart, a titan of retail, has ruled brick and mortar discount stores since 1962. Offering huge variety and super-low prices, Walmart has built an almost cult-like following. Now, they are taking aim at Amazon’s internet domination with a shipping subscription program called Walmart+.
Consumers were already drifting towards placing more orders online, but the global pandemic COVID-19 supercharged this digital shopping revolution and forever changed buying and shipping expectations. But still, is our love for fast shipping and no-contact delivery worth it when it comes to adding another monthly or yearly expense to our budgets?
What are the Costs and Benefits of the Walmart+ Membership?
Walmart could not have picked a better time to jump into the free delivery service game.
Launched recently, in September of 2020, Walmart+ is a subscription service that gives you several perks and allows you to save money when shopping at Walmart. The most significant benefit is free same-day delivery on a little over 160,000 items. You can order pretty much anything Walmart sells in their stores, from groceries to toys and clothing.
Here are some more benefits you’ll get with your Walmart+ membership:
- Get free same-day delivery on 160,000 items, including groceries. There used to be a $35 minimum, but that has been waived. Order as often as you want, even twice in one day.
- Get free 2-day shipping on any Walmart.com order with no minimum. Some items are excluded from free shipping, such as heavy items or items sold by third-party sellers through the Walmart partners program.
- Contactless in-store shopping with the Walmart app’s scan and go program. Just scan items as you shop, pay with a preloaded card on the app, and grab your receipt on the way out the door.
- Save up to 5 cents a gallon on gas at Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express stations.
The Walmart+ membership costs $98 a year, or you can pay $13 a month. The yearly subscription will save you $58 per year. There is a short 15-day free trial if you want to test the waters before buying-in.
How Does Walmart+ Compare to Their Competition?
Clearly, Walmart is attempting to compete with the Amazon Prime program, which is currently their biggest competition online.
Many online-shopping enthusiasts will take out multiple memberships to get everything they need. There are some major differences to consider, though, if you can only afford to have one membership.
Another similar competitor to Walmart is Target, so we will look at all three of these programs side-by-side below.
|Price||Tree Trail||Variety||Additional Benefits|
|Walmart+||$98 yearly / $13 monthly||15 days||160,000 items for same-day or next-day delivery||In-store shopping app, free shipping online, savings on gas.|
|Target with Shipt||$99 yearly / no monthly plan||30 days||Unknown, but most likely similar to Walmart||Items are delivered through Shipt, which other stores also participate in.|
|Amazon Prime||$119 yearly / $13 monthly||30 days||Over 3 million same-day or next-day products||Movie and TV streaming included membership savings, free books, massive inventory, and more.|
The number of same-day delivery items Amazon has can make them look like a clear-cut winner but keep in mind that the availability of Amazon’s 3 million products varies greatly depending on where you live.
If you live close to an Amazon warehouse and what’s stored at your local warehouses. While Walmart’s selection is much lower, it’s pretty standard items that most stores carry no matter where they are located.
What are the Pros and Cons of Walmart+ Membership?
With any membership, there will be pros and cons to signing up. Some of these are straight facts, while others are a matter of opinion and are influenced by how often you use the benefits. Taking a look at the pros and cons can help you determine if something is worth it or not.
The Pros of Walmart+ Membership:
- Super-fast same-day delivery on 160,000 items, including all of their in-store grocery items. Get your groceries without leaving the house, driving to the store, dealing with other shoppers, or waiting in line.
- Free shipping on any order on Walmart.com. We are all ordering online more than ever, so saving money on shipping is often a priority.
- Skip the line, which is arguably one of the worst parts about shopping in-stores, with scan and go on the Walmart App.
- Save money on gas, a benefit that none of the competition is able to offer.
- You can quickly make back the cost of membership through delivery cost and shipping savings at only $13 a month (or $8 a month if paying annually).
The Cons of Walmart+ Membership:
- The free trial is only 15 days, which might not be long enough for you to make an informed decision.
- The Walmart+ membership is only slightly less than an Amazon Prime membership, even though Amazon Prime gives you many extra benefits, including a very nice movie and TV streaming plan.
- The number of items that Walmart+ has available for same-day delivery is very low compared to Amazon. Walmart has 160,000 same-day items while Amazon Prime has over 3 million.
- Grocery delivery and other same-day service are not available in all areas.
If you placed two orders a week on Walmart+, you would save up to $816 in shipping and delivery charges and save around 2.5 hours of your valuable time since you don’t have to do the shopping yourself.
Should You Invest in a Store’s Membership Program or a Premium Delivery Service Like Instacart?
Which delivery service membership you purchase will depend partly on your shopping habits and partly on what’s available where you live.
Walmart might not deliver to remote areas, and they also are sometimes not available in densely populated urban areas where they are less likely to have stores.
Besides the large delivery services like Amazon and Walmart, you can elect to get groceries and other similar goods delivered from a variety of local stores through programs like Shipt or Instacart.
These services have their own monthly or yearly subscription prices to save you money on fees. Their upside is that you can order from multiple stores (although not all in the same order).
If you only shop at Walmart occasionally but shop at your local grocery store more often, then you might want the flexibility to shop multiple stores for same-day delivery. When you use a third-party service like Instacart, you often pay slightly inflated prices in addition to a delivery fee and a tip for your shopper. These service fees can add up quickly, but many people feel that the ease of use and shopping from their own homes’ comfort and safety is worth the cost.
Using Your Free Trial For Walmart+ Membership
When you sign up for the free trial, your benefits will start immediately, and the trial will last for 15 consecutive days. You can cancel your trial at any time on the Walmart+ account page.
If you like the service and don’t want to cancel, your paid membership will automatically start at the end of the 15 days. If you simply forgot to cancel before the trial ended, you have a 48 grace period to cancel and get a refund.
What’s the Bottom Line? Is a Walmart+ Membership Worth It?
If you live in an area where Walmart grocery shopping is an option, and that is your primary source for food and household items, then Walmart+ is the perfect choice for you. As long as you shop at Walmart at least once a month, you’ll get your money’s worth from the service.
Once you have the service, you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll place an order. When the minimums and shipping fees are removed, you are free to order a few items here and there as you need them.
If you make a full grocery order today and tomorrow realize you forgot a few items, it’s easy just to place another order.
While the number of items for same-day delivery with Walmart is much lower than Amazon’s massive catalog, you’ll probably find that everything you need grocery-wise can be easily found at Walmart.
You’ll also enjoy Walmart’s signature low prices, amazing deals, and great in-house brands. All of these benefits make a Walmart+ worth it, as long as you are a frequent Walmart shopper.