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Walmart+’s Membership Strategy For the 2021 Holiday Season

  • Nadine Ghiran - SUBTA
  • Oct 20, 2021
  • 4 minute read

Exclusivity and access are becoming increasingly popular assets for subscriptions ahead of the holidays, and Walmart is officially providing both with its latest customer acquisition strategy. Starting this November, Walmart+ members will have early access to Black Friday deals, the company announced on Monday, Oct. 18. 

“We continue to build Walmart+ to be the ultimate life hack for our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, Chief Customer Officer for Walmart U.S., in the press release.

Read on to learn more about Walmart’s membership strategy and the advantages of offering exclusivity around the holidays.

Being a Walmart+ Member Has Its Perks

Walmart’s “Black Friday Deals for Days” is jam-packed with sales across all departments and spans over three consecutive events, according to the press release: 

  • Event Number One: Deals start online Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. EST, followed by in-store deals on Nov. 5.
  • Event Number Two: Deals begin online Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. EST and in stores Nov. 12.
  • Event Number Three: This event will feature additional, valuable deals for the holiday season.

The Black Friday sales will encompass toys, electronics, apparel, home goods, and more. Walmart+ subscribers will be the first ones to take advantage of the deals in each event. The company’s newest initiative enables its subscribers to shop four hours before anyone else.

“We’re excited for our Walmart+ members to be first in line for the hottest Black Friday deals out there,” said Whiteside in the press release.

This is on top of the membership benefits that come with subscribing to Walmart+, such as free unlimited delivery from a customer’s local store, free shipping on all orders, member prices on fuel, and discounts on select prescriptions. 

Not only is the company’s membership strategy designed to generate an increased level of excitement for Walmart+ members, but it’s also taking into account the trends of the 2021 holiday season.

Offering Exclusive Deals for the Holidays

Consumer behaviors and purchasing habits are once again a big focal point for subscription companies as the holiday season is just a few weeks away. E-commerce sales in the U.S. are projected to reach more than $200 billion, according to Digital Commerce 360 — a 12.1% increase year over year (YoY). 

The Covid-19 pandemic influenced 50% of U.S. consumers to shop online more than they did before, according to a consumer insights study conducted by Radial Inc. Additionally, nearly half of those surveyed said they would increase their online shopping during the 2021 holiday season.

The same survey suggests that 80% of consumers plan to buy holiday gifts sooner if brands start offering deals before Black Friday.

There are growing opportunities in the subscription space to explore these consumer trends and understand how to best tailor a brand to those needs. 

Walmart is well-positioned to see growth in all aspects of e-commerce revenue. The company expects to reach $75 billion in global online sales by the end of 2021. By offering members exclusive access to its holiday deals, the company is fostering customer loyalty and making its subscription offering more valuable.

Walmart’s Membership Strategy to Increase Growth

Walmart+ launched in September 2020. Within the first two weeks of its release, 11% of Americans subscribed to the service, according to a poll conducted by Piplsay.  

By March 2021, the service attracted 60 million members, according to PYMNTS. Walmart’s number one competitor, Amazon Prime, had approximately 1 million members in the same time frame, according to Marketplace Pulse.

Amazon Prime has long offered its members exclusive deals during the holiday season. This year is the earliest it has rolled out its sales, including a new feature that allows gift-giving with just the recipient’s email and phone number. Walmart’s new strategy could help the company level the playing field with Prime’s membership.

Since its launch last year, Walmart+’s membership count dipped to nearly 50 million members, according to PYMNTS. The subscription service is a continued work in progress with customer experience at the forefront of Walmart’s priorities. 

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and go sell too many Walmart+ memberships and have a customer experience that is less than our expectation, or their expectation,” said Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, at an investment meeting earlier this year.

The first Black Friday sale event for Walmart+ members will begin online on Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. EST.

Key Takeaways:

  • Walmart is offering Walmart+ subscribers a headstart to Black Friday deals.
  • The company’s membership strategy is in line with rising consumer trends surrounding the holidays.
  • Walmart expects to reach $75 billion in global e-commerce sales by the end of 2021.

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