Via Zerohedge

Amazon is dominating the retail space, putting massive pressure on brick and mortar retail outlets. Now it appears Walmart is going to flank Amazon with a taste of its own medicine by launching a new paid membership program to take on Prime. 

For the last 18 months, Walmart has been secretly working on a paid membership program called Walmart+, reported Vox

For just $98 per year, subscribers will get the benefits of unlimited delivery for groceries and all other store items. Walmart had previously rolled out a program called ShippingPass, which shut down three years ago. 

Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside is overseeing the development and rollout of Walmart+. Additional perks of the service could include discounted drugs and fuel, as well as a new service called Scan & Go that allows subscribers to dodge long cashier lines. 

Walmart+ is expected to launch a pilot program next month, Vox said. Walmart executives are hoping that future subscribers would lead to more consumption of products and services under the Walmart roof, which would boost profit margins and help stabilize its losing e-commerce business.  

The online retail war between Walmart and Amazon is about to heat up. As we’ve previously noted, Walmart has offered free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more since early 2017, which helped it keep up with Amazon. Amazon still accounts for about half of all e-commerce spending in the US. 

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Walmart teased Amazon last April when it tweeted, “One-day free shipping…without a membership fee. Now THAT would be groundbreaking. Stay tuned.” 

In preparation to take on Amazon, Walmart acquired Jet.com in 2016 to expand its e-commerce reach. Now the retail giant believes it has what it takes to challenge Amazon and keep subscribers in a perpetual loop of consumption, enticed by perks and credit cards to overindulge in products.

Consumption and capitalism, hand in hand: it’s the American way.