Walmart Grocery challenges Amazon with new $98-a-year delivery option

Walmart has been stepping up its online shopping game of late, with improvements to both its web store and delivery options.

As it plays catch-up with Amazon by speeding up delivery times for orders on general items, it’s also making changes to Walmart Grocery to take on competing services.

For example, Walmart has now launched Delivery Unlimited, a subscription service costing $98 a year or $13 a month. Spotted by TechCrunch, signing up to Delivery Unlimited means you’ll no longer have to pay delivery fees for each individual grocery order, though your shop will have to come to at least $30.

Walmart is offering a 15-day free trial of its subscription-based delivery service in a bid to bring customers on board.

Before the launch of Delivery Unlimited, Walmart’s online shoppers only had the option to pick up their ordered items from the local store for free or pay the delivery fee of up to $10. While both options remain available, Delivery Unlimited offers a third choice — one that’s likely to look attractive for shoppers who hit Walmart’s online store on a regular basis.

As for the competition, Amazon Prime, which includes a range of grocery items from Prime Pantry, costs more at $119 a year, but of course the additional $20 offers a lot more than just delivery, with movies, TV shows, music, and ebooks, for example, also part of the deal. Pay an extra $15 a month and you can also shop at Amazon Fresh (in select cities), which offers perishables among a wide range of other food items.

Online delivery service Shipt, which was acquired by Target in 2017, offers a $99-a-year fee that gets you free grocery delivery on orders over $35, or $10 per same-day delivery, while Instacart also offers a $99 subscription for free delivery on orders over $35, or $4 per same-day delivery on orders over $35 — except in New York City where it costs $6 per delivery.

As you can see, the fees are fairly similar across many of the different offerings, leaving each individual customer to find the store and service that suits them best.

Walmart’s new annual subscription for its online grocery shoppers comes at a time of much activity among big-name retailers as they vie for attention in the increasingly competitive online shopping space. The likes of Walmart and Target were fairly slow to the game as Amazon built its online empire, but more recently its competitors have been focusing increasingly on efforts to improve their respective web experiences and delivery options.

Walmart, for example, recently introduced one-day delivery to match Amazon, and also announced the launch of InHome Delivery for when you’re out. The service involves Walmart personnel using smart entry technology to access a customer’s home before placing the ordered food items on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator, similar to Amazon Key.

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