Subscription-based startups that help you discover new foods and products have been on the rise in the last two years. Now, an established heavyweight wades into the mix: Walmart.
“The whole idea is around discovery,” Ravi Raj, vice president of products at Walmart Labs, tells GigaOm. “We want to introduce you to new types of food that you haven’t heard of before, not things you’d find at most mainstream stores.”
A critical point is the price point. Walmart is, in effect, undercutting many other food subscription services with its $7/month fee. Services like Love with Food, Sprig or Tasterie range from $12-$27/month. Will it take away market share from the likes of Love with Food? After getting set up with food, will it expand into beauty products and challenge BirchBox? There are a number of “competitors” in this space and Walmart's entrance creates an interesting dynamic.
However, that may be just a small piece of it. One thing a service like this definitely does bring to Walmart is a data collection tool. Walmart encourages users to rate products and submit reviews of items they receive in the Goodies box and earn loyalty points in exchange. This data can help Walmart determine which items are popular and should also be stocked in their physical stores.
“[The new service] plays to Walmart’s strengths, in terms of being the largest grocer in the country. That’s why we picked food,” Raj tells TechCrunch. His team is “fairly confident” that they'll have tens of thousands of subscribers to the Goodies service but it will start to get meaningful once they reach a certain scale.