Walmart, the retail giant known for offering low prices and undercutting their competitors, is rolling out a new online price comparison tool. The new program will allow customers to use their receipt to generate a list of lower priced items by local competitors. Any savings will then be added to a gift card that can be used as store credit instantly or can be saved and used on future purchases at Walmart.
According to The Associated Press, Walmart developed the online tool that customers can use to compare prices on more than 80,000 products, from food to household items. Clothing and electronics are not included in the database, however. They call the program the “Savings Catcher.”
The online comparison tool was devised so Walmart can remain competitive with online stores, such as Amazon, who are able to offer lower prices on their websites without the cost of the overhead associated with a brick and mortar store.
Walmart has experienced a decline in sales and the amount of customers visiting their stores over the last four quarters. Online stores are not the only issue though. Dollar Stores and Kroger appear to be the biggest competition, as far as lower prices.
In order to protect its reputation as the discount superstore and stop losing business to online sites and other discount stores , they will begin offering a refund to customers who find a lower price elsewhere on an item that they purchased from Walmart. The refund would come in the form of a store credit.
The thing that sets this program apart from other stores that offer price matching guarantees is that the customer does not have to search for the lower price and do the comparisons on their own. The Savings Catcher does all of the work for them.
All customers have to do to reap the rewards of the Savings Catcher is visit Walmart’s website and enter their receipt number into a database. The tool matches prices from the nearest 20 competitors and determines if any items are available at a lower price. The difference, if any, is then applied to a Walmart gift card, which can be used immediately or accumulated over time. They can be used online or printed and used in the store.
The program only compares prices from local stores, however. It does not compare to the prices of online stores. In other words, the Savings Catcher is set up to compare Walmart receipt prices with the prices at Target, Meijer, Dollar General and other retailers within the same general region that the original purchase was made.
In February, Walmart rolled out the new program in seven markets across the U.S. The price comparison tool is able to give customers discounts using technology, which is a hot trend at the moment. Customers like the convenience of not having to do the price comparisons themselves. It is not only a money saver, but also a time saver. Even a few dollars a week being added to the card can add up after a while, which provides an incentive to keep shopping at Walmart.
By Tracy Rose