WalMart has considered itself the lowest price option for quite some time and is ready to prove that the slogan is more than just empty words. A selection of over 80,000 different household and food products such as dish soap and canned goods are listed alongside competitive prices. If the service dubbed “Savings Catcher” finds that WalMart is not offering the lowest price on the product, the user is returned the difference on the purchase by means of store credit.
The service is available in seven major cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, and San Diego. The tool is not meant to compare any online retailers however. “Savings Catcher” compares advertised prices from local retailers for the staples in any household. WalMart has been infamous for selling at prices so low that small businesses cannot possibly match. Other large businesses may feel the need to try to compete more closely with WalMart in order to maintain their customer base and may even inspire other companies to follow suit in a comparison system. Americans across the board are commonly searching for the best possible price in order to get as much as possible with as little as possible.
The price match is not exclusive to Wal-Mart however, as Best Buy and Target will also match a competitor’s price on the same product. The difference between the “Savings Catcher” and the offers given by other companies is that “Savings Catcher” does the research for the customer. Other similar services require the consumer to bring in the lower price in order to achieve the lower price.
The service does lack a key feature of including online sources. There has been no indication the WalMart will ever extend the service to include these prices. Criticism of the service does not end at the lack of online options but the undercutting of smaller businesses, a topic that has kept WalMart away from opening its doors in places such as New York City. Also, unlike others where presenting an online ad for a product at a lower cost would suffice to heed the discount benefit, company policy lacks the ability to use online ads as justification of a discount. The portion of the WalMart website showing competitor prices is limited to household staples and does not include any other product besides food and home supplies.
The idea was born only last year in a WalMart sponsored focus group that quickly positively reacted to the program. The expansion of the system began this year to include the top seven markets. The push to assure consumers that they are receiving the lowest market price for a product may be in reaction to the company having a fourth week quarter showing declining sales across the board. The satisfaction is not limited to the focus group. Those who have little time to hunt for a deal due to family and/or work find the service of comparing prices on walmart.com a great time saver and invaluable addition to the savings already common at WalMart.
Opinion By Andy Diaz