Home Business Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says focus is on Walmart+ experience as it...

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says focus is on Walmart+ experience as it scales

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the discounter wants to grow its new membership program, Walmart+, but won’t sacrifice customer experience for subscriber numbers.

“One of the worst things we could do would be to sell a bunch of Walmart+ memberships and then have them be dissatisfied because they can’t get fast delivery times or spots,” he said Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Virtual Global Consumer & Retail Conference.

Walmart has declined to share the number of subscribers since the program’s debut.

McMillon said the big-box retailer wants to gradually add perks and expand capacity to keep up with members’ orders, such as picking and packing groceries for their unlimited home deliveries. He said it will measure its success by a different number: Its Net Promoter Score, an index that indicates customers’ likelihood to recommend a product or a company.

“I realize we’re going to face some pressure to share numbers and to scale this really quick,” he said. “This is not a Disney+ or a Netflix membership for streaming. It requires capacity. It requires humans. This is a different product, but it’ll be a Walmart product.”

The big-box retailer launched the subscription service in September to try to strengthen customer loyalty and win more of their wallets. It costs $98 for a year’s subscription or $12.95 for a month of service. Walmart+ includes perks like fuel discounts, access to an app that allows customers to skip the checkout line and free unlimited grocery deliveries to the home for orders of $35 or more.

On Wednesday, Walmart said it would drop its $35 online shipping minimum for members. The change, which begins Friday, brings Walmart’s membership program more in line with Amazon Prime, which has no minimum for website orders.

McMillon said the company decided to ditch the minimum because it “heard loud and clear from customers that had purchased a Walmart+ membership that they didn’t expect to have a minimum for e-commerce orders.”

He said it ramped up shipping so it can keep up with an increase in more separate orders by members, even during the holiday season.