Walmart debuts subscription service

The new program enables shoppers to set up regular delivery schedules for thousands of name brand and private label grocery items, paper products, pet supplies and more.
Walmart app
Walmart has launched a subscription service. / Photo: Shutterstock

Walmart this week quietly unveiled a new subscription service, enabling shoppers to receive regular shipments of food, paper products, pet supplies and more.

The offering appears to be a direct competitor to Amazon’s long-running Subscribe & Save program, which debuted in 2007. Amazon’s program, however, offers a discount of up to 15% on subscriptions that include five or more items. In August, Amazon said customers had saved more than $1 billion during the prior year by using its subscription program.

Walmart, the country’s largest grocery retailer, said the products in its subscription program are sold at the retail giant’s “Every Day Low Prices.”

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, in a statement, said it frequently sees customers add the same items to their digital orders, week after week.

“When customers shop or the app, their baskets often contain repeat items, which means precious time is spent every weekly shopping trip finding and adding the items they’ve purchased countless times before,” Walmart said.

To use the subscription service, Walmart customers can add a participating product to their digital shopping cart and then select a delivery cadence of anywhere from one week to six months. The “most common” delivery schedule is shown as a guide to shoppers.

The subscription program currently includes “thousands of everyday essentials,” Walmart said, including private-label products and national brands such as Great Value vegetable oil, Premier Protein shakes and Similac infant formula.

“Top subscriptions” listed on Amazon’s website Friday morning included Angel Soft toilet paper, Great Value Everyday disposable paper plates, Arm & Hammer laundry detergent and Scott toilet paper. Most of the top-selling subscription items are larger pack size products.

Walmart this week also announced the opening of its first Pet Services center. Located in Dallas, Georgia, the center provides veterinary care and grooming services in-store, where the retailer also sells pet food and supplies.

In announcing the pet center, Walmart said pet-related items have been the most popular ones in the new subscription service.

“Based on our pilot testing, the pet category has been where customers have most eagerly embraced this convenience,” Walmart said.

In addition to Amazon, pet-focused retailers such as Chewy also offer an autoship program. Under Chewy’s subscription program, customers receive 35% off their first order and 5% off after that.



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