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Should Amazon Worry as Walmart Adds Video Perk to Membership Program?

Should Amazon Worry as Walmart Adds Video Perk to Membership Program?

Many shoppers joined Amazon Prime for the free-shipping perk and stayed for the free video streaming service. Prime Video gave it something Walmart’s free-shipping membership program didn’t have – until now.

Walmart is adding a major perk to the Walmart+ membership program: a Paramount+ subscription at no extra cost, though the streaming service’s content does not appear to rival content available through Prime.

A March review in Cnet of the Paramount+ plan that comes with the Walmart+ subscription shows it may not be quite as robust as some other streaming platforms, though it includes family-friendly Nickelodeon programming and other popular content.

Walmart stated in Monday’s announcement: “The streaming service benefit becomes yet another way Walmart is uniquely positioned to give members more for less with Walmart+, whether in-store, at the gas pump, on groceries, listening to music, and now when watching their favorite movies and shows.

“Walmart+ will remain $98 a year or $12.95 a month and include the Paramount+ Essential Plan subscription with an added $59 value.”

Walmart+ does have something Amazon Prime does not – free delivery from local stores – and shoppers can place their order for items from the website and from their local store in the same order. Items sold and shipped by Walmart are shipped next-day, two-day, or standard shipping, and items from the buyer’s local store are delivered during the time slot the customer chooses.

Walmart revealed its Walmart+ program has had positive member growth every month since its launch in September 2020. “Most recently, the retailer combined its InHome service into Walmart+ to create efficiency for members,” it said. “As members seek more ways to save money, they can now consolidate a portion of their subscriptions and get entertainment through the membership.”

Time will tell, but if Walmart succeeds in retaining and boosting membership, that could make its fulfillment service more attractive to sellers. (Their goods ship free to customers only if they’re stored in Walmart fulfillment centers.)

The more sellers who use Walmart’s fulfillment service, the more attractive it becomes to shoppers – the same flywheel effect FBA provides to Amazon.

Amazon probably isn’t panicking, but the addition of the Paramount perk poses a competitive threat from its rival retail giant. Unless shoppers are willing to pony up money for two free-shipping membership programs.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.