Walmart (WMT) - Get Report is quietly developing plans to offer a paid membership service that would compete with Amazon Prime as the two retail behemoths battle for online market share, according to a new report.
Executives at the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer are gearing up to do a public test run of a new membership service called Walmart+, Recode reported.
Walmart executives, who have spent the last 18 months working on the plan, are hoping Walmart+ will give the massive retailer the boost it needs to go head-to-head with Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report in online sales, where its rival dominates.
Walmart currently plan calls for relaunching its Delivery Unlimited service, which charges $98 a year for unlimited grocery deliveries from a network of 1,600 stores, under the new Walmart+ banner, Recode noted, citing unnamed sources.
That's compared to $119 a year for Amazon Prime, which not only offers same-day grocery deliveries from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, but also unlimited, one-day shipping on more than 10 million products, among other perks.
The new, Walmart+ membership program may also include a text messaging feature that would allow customers to fire off orders, Recode noted.
But Walmart is hoping to build on grocery deliveries to add an array of new perks to the Walmart+ membership program, with executives eyeing everything from discounts on prescription drugs to savings on gas.
Still, Walmart faces a daunting taking on Amazon, which has vaulted to the world's top retailer through its dominance of online sales. Amazon now accounts for 40% of all online sales, compared to Walmart, which is at No. 2 with a 5% slice of the market, according to Recode.
Still, Walmart executives are aware they need to offer a broad range of benefits, beyond grocery delivery, to compete, Recode reported