May 23, 2023
Walmart wants to give pet owners a reason to become a Walmart+ member.
According to CNBC and Reuters, the retailer has signed a deal with Pawp, a veterinary telemedicine provider, to offer its services to Walmart+ members free of charge for a year.
Walmart+ members have until November 19 to sign up for the offer, which gives them unlimited 24/7 video or text access to Pawp’s vets. The site states that members can “access help in under a minute, so you’re never alone when things go wrong”.
“There’s no denying that over the last decade we’ve started to think of pets as part of the family,” Pawp CEO Marc Atiyeh told CNBC. ”[Walmart has] a very strong thesis around the pet category and yes they want to be a big player in pet care and animal health in general and pawp really allows them to outperform the competition and do something that none of the other players have done.”
Remote veterinary services, similar to human telemedicine, are growing in popularity, although some animal health experts have warned of the limitations of such services when hands-on care is required to properly diagnose and treat pets.
The Pawp deal allows Walmart to build on its earlier moves into pet services. According to Talk Business & Politics, the retailer has partnered with Rover dog walking and sitting services and VetIQ Petcare, which operates veterinary clinics in 60 stores.
The addition of the Pawp service fits with Walmart’s emphasis on price and convenience as key selling points for Walmart+.
CEO Doug McMillon said in the retailer’s first-quarter earnings announcement that Walmart+ membership has hit new highs with growth in “income and age cohorts” as consumers respond to the dual value proposition.
Annual Pawp membership costs $99 and is included in Walmart+’s $98 fee for opt-in subscribers. Financial details of the deal between the two companies were not disclosed.
Walmart isn’t the only pet retailer offering telemedicine service options. Chewy’s Connect With A Vet chat service is free and available between 6:00am and 12:00pm ET. 20-minute video calls with a veterinarian are available for $19.99 for active members of Chewy Autoship or CarePlus insurance.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Walmart narrowed the value gap to Amazon Prime by adding Paramount+ and Pawp to its Walmart+ plan? Will the addition of Pawp help Walmart gain ground in the pet category?
“The pet category has been explosive and this underscores Walmart’s commitment to creating value and increasing its share of this lucrative market.”