In the midst of the pandemic, Walmart launched its delivery subscription service, Walmart Plus in September, offering subscribers same-day grocery deliveries and discounts on gas and in-store Scan & Go. In some ways, it’s Walmart’s version of Amazon Prime. For $98 a year (or $13 a month), I found that it’s worth it for me to get my groceries and anything else I’d find at a Walmart dropped off at my door quickly and without the hassle of going into the store. And with a generous free trial period, the service is worth checking out.
Signing up for Walmart Plus is easy — just follow the prompts on the website and enter your information. You’ll get a 15-day free trial, and when I signed up, I answered a quick three-question survey and got that extended to a 30-day free trial. You’ll be asked to enter billing information, but you won’t be charged anything until your trial ends. I appreciated that every time I logged on to Walmart’s website, it let me know very clearly how long I had left in my free trial. I was never worried that I’d forget and get charged.
Before you check out, you have the option to specify any driver instructions in a text box. You can also just ask that the order be left at your door, but by checking that box, you’re also agreeing that you accept responsibility for what happens to your groceries after the driver leaves.
This might be less of an issue since more folks are working for home, or for those who have smart doorbells. I have a Google Nest Hello, so my phone alerts me whenever someone gets within a certain range of my porch. Walmart also emails you three times during the process, letting you know when your order is received, when it’s out for delivery, and if there are any substitutions. The correspondence will also let you know what car your driver will arrive in and their name. If you add your phone number, you’ll get text messages about the status of your order.
All of this is to say it’s highly unlikely that your order is just going to be dropped off and you won’t know.
Price and delivery minimum
Walmart Plus breaks down to $98 a year, or $13 a month. If you choose to pay monthly, a year will cost about $155.40, so paying annually is less expensive if you’re planning to use the service over time. As mentioned, when you sign up, you get a 15-day free trial. When I opted to answer a few survey questions, my free trial was upgraded to 30 days.
The membership means that you can get “in-store prices” and “as fast as same-day” delivery on more than 160,000 items — almost everything you’d find in Walmart. In other words, a membership will send just about anything in-store to your door within a day, or even on the same day, with no additional fees. Walmart used to require a $35 purchase minimum but removed it in December — so now, you can just buy one or two small items and get free delivery. However, if you’re only buying groceries, that $35 minimum is still in place.
It also includes savings up to 5 cents per gallon on gasoline at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, Sam’s Club and Murphy Express gas stations nationwide.
Walmart Plus offers some in-store benefits, too: Subscribers will get access to Scan & Go, a feature in the Walmart app that will let you scan items as you shop in the store, and check out using Walmart Pay, so you won’t have to stand in a checkout line.
Simple ordering, through website or app
You can do your shopping on Walmart’s website on your phone or computer, or with the Walmart app. The end result is the same, so it’s more about what you feel more comfortable using. If you order on a laptop, like I did, all the items are organized by category in scrollable lists. The categories range from specific, like types of coffee creamer, to general, like items you might want for a family movie night.
The most handy feature is Reorder Your Essentials, which keeps track of items you purchase frequently, so you can quickly add them to your list again without searching for each individually. Another helpful feature is Recommended for You, which offers items similar to what you buy frequently.
While shopping through the website, you can watch your items get added to your shopping list on the same screen as you search for them, so there’s no swapping between windows. Most items will allow you to click Add to Cart, but some might say See Options, which could mean they’re out of stock or have specifications. You can also favorite items by clicking or tapping the little heart next to a product. Your favorite items can be found in their own list, which makes shopping even faster.
There’s also the option to make substitution preferences. You can toggle individual items that you’re OK with replacements for if they are out of stock, allow all items to be subject to substitution or toggle off substitutions altogether.
If you start shopping in the app, it’ll ask if you want to search items available for pickup and delivery, or shop Walmart.com (the way you would without the service). When I chose pickup and delivery, the app showed me the same items I’d seen on the website version. The categories and personalized lists are all viewable. Shopping by department is a more fluid experience in the app, as the toolbar makes it easier to move quickly through your shopping list without having to stop and type something.
Prior to testing out Walmart Plus, we had almost exclusively used grocery chain Kroger for shopping. Having tried the store’s pickup service, Clicklist, I was familiar with its app, which I found to be a bit more organized and manageable in terms of interface compared to Walmart’s. The Kroger app’s home page focuses primarily on items you’ve bought in the past for fast list-making, items that are on sale, and items that have coupons for savings. Walmart’s app offers more ways to discover new products and items you might’ve forgotten to buy before, but it’s a bit more distracting, and makes it easier to add items to your shopping cart you may not need.
I placed my first order on a Sunday around 1 p.m. You can choose from different one-hour delivery slots that day (or on a future day that week). The last slot I could have chosen was 7-8 p.m. that evening. But the service also gave me the option to pay an extra $10 for express delivery, which promises your order in two hours or less.
Since I was doing a smaller grocery order than usual of about $65, I decided to spend the extra $10 for express delivery, bringing my bill to $75 and some change (including tax).