Walmart is expected to announce Tuesday that it’s getting into the pet telehealth business.
CNBC said Monday it confirmed with the retail giant that it’s partnering with a company called Pawp, a provider of virtual vet visits, to offer a year’s worth of free telehealth visits to Walmart+ subscribers.
The move is aimed at adding value to Walmart’s loyalty program and making it more competitive with Amazon Prime.
It’s a smart play.
Americans don’t skimp when it comes to their furry friends. The U.S. pet market is worth about $124 billion.
“It’s undeniable that over the past decade, we started thinking and looking at pets as part of the family,” Pawp CEO Marc Atiyeh told CNBC.
He said Walmart has “a very strong thesis around the pet category and, yes, they want to be a big player in pet care and pet health in general.”
Amazon Prime is pricier than Walmart+ — $140 annually vs $100. But Prime offers lots of extras, including Prime Video and Amazon Music.
Pet telehealth is a shrewd way of grabbing the attention of pet owners (including myself).
And that tells me Amazon won’t hesitate to offer its own virtual vet visits once they see how people respond to Walmart’s offer.
Walmart+ subscribers have until Nov. 19 to opt in to Pawp care. After the first year, expect to pay $100 or more annually for the telehealth service.