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Walmart takes wraps off membership program

Walmart is taking on Amazon - again. 

The retail giant will launch its highly anticipated membership program, called Walmart+, on Sept. 15. It will offer unlimited free delivery (on orders of $35 or more), gasoline discounts of up to 5 cents a gallon and access to the chain’s Scan & Go app which allows shoppers to avoid checkout lines by scanning items in the store and checkout using Walmart Pay.  

The new program will cost $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, with a 15-day free trial period. Amazon Prime costs $119 a year, or $12.99 a month, with no minimum order needed to qualify for free shipping. The Prime program also includes streaming entertainment.

The fuel discounts will be available at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express gas stations. Sam’s Club stations will soon be added to this lineup.

Walmart said many of the 160,000 items that would qualify for the free shipping would be delivered directly from its stores to customers’ homes. The retailer also said it plans to add additional benefits for members in a variety of services and offerings in the future.

“Customers know they can trust us and depend on us, and we’ve designed this program as the ultimate life hack for them,” said chief customer officer Janey Whiteside. "Walmart+ will bring together a comprehensive set of benefits where we see the greatest needs from our customers and where our scale can bring solutions at an unprecedented value." 

In a CNBC report, Whiteside said Walmart is not launching the program to complete “with anything else.”

“We’re launching it to meet the needs of our customers, and it really was designed to make their busy lives easier,” she said. We think that it offers a comprehensive suite of in-store and online benefits that help people save time and money across a variety of areas.”

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