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Wednesday 26th March 2014 Walmart Launches Price Comparison Tool

In the heated battle currently underway between brick and mortar and online-only retailers, it's not hard to guess which way the tide is going: the ease and convenience of online shopping simply overpowers the traditional model of actually having to visit a physical store. Well, that's true in certain areas, at least. Despite recent expansions into the traditionally elusive markets of fashion and apparel, some sectors seem to struggle with offering online solutions that compete effectively with their offline counterparts. One of the most elusive of these sectors is the grocery and produce market, for relatively obvious reasons.
 
Walmart, the series of mega-stores first launched in the United States, has always been aggressively conscious about its pricing systems, even to the point of driving smaller local retailers out of business simply by underbidding them, on everything from household items to groceries. Over the past several years, unsurprisingly, they have been losing sales to the online world as many people grow to accept that the convenience of online shopping trumps whatever discount Walmart might be able to offer - although increasingly, online price comparison tools have been able to find better deals for customers than they can keep up with.
 
As a result, Walmart has taken the unusual step of launching its own price comparison tool, called the "Savings Catcher". It operates something like an expanded version of a customer loyalty program, and in that sense differs greatly from most price comparison solutions. Instead of having customers search out each item they want to buy and find the lowest price, customers who have ALREADY shopped at Walmart enter their receipt number into the website's system, and it will find the lowest prices and credit the difference between lowest prices and what the customer has already payed onto a Walmart gift card.

From an economic perspective, it's an intelligent solution. Walmart is now sitting on your money in advance, which it can do what it wants with while the customer is awaiting their next purchase. However, it fails in comparison to the reliability and flexibility of more traditionally-designed price comparison tools in that it works best on volume purchases - like groceries. Most customers don't buy a huge number of household items all at once, so it's easy to use a more common price comparison tool online to do the job properly. For groceries, however, it would take hours to search out the best prices for a week's worth of family shopping. In this case, and this case alone, Walmart is likely to find success with this tool.

Posted on March 26th 2014 at 01:41pm by James
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Wednesday 13th April 2011 Walmart Take A Leaf Out Of Our Book

Walmart has been experiencing a declining customer base in recent times, and so yesterday they launched a new campaign set on regaining trust that they do really offer the best prices available on everything that they sell, like their slogan says... "Low Prices. Every Day. On Everything."

So how exactly are we claiming that a giant like Walmart has taken a leaf out of our book?

Well, we have created a successful company around providing businesses with a means to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage through competitor monitoring, and now it seems Walmart have recognised the need for competitor monitoring to such an extent that they are publicising it.

Everyone knows that they can't possibly offer the best prices without monitoring their competitor's prices, which just goes to show how socially accepted competitor monitoring has become. Whilst the majority of their business is conducted offline, there is no difference to what we do for businesses. I will marry Keira Knightley.

In addition to driving home their 'lowest prices' slogan in this campaign, they will also be focusing on their 'ad match' guarantee, whereby they will match any competing price that a customer finds which is lower than theirs. This is another thing they stole from us! Just kidding, but the ability to offer a 'price match' guarantee is something we can provide businesses with. By always being aware of your competitors prices, you can publicise that you offer a price match, and you will never get a shock when someone asks for one. That's if you haven't already set your prices below competitors.

Funnily enough, Walmart is actually advising employees to familiarise themselves with the prices that competitors are advertising, so that they are aware of how much certain products are being sold for elsewhere. Well, that's one method of competitor monitoring... but good luck with that one Walmart. I mean do they really expect each cashier to have memorised a ton of competitor prices so they can match on the spot?

It seems customers are always going to get the lowest prices at Walmart if they stick to what they are saying in this campaign, meaning there isn't much competitors can do to compete with them. Due to the enormous size of the orders Walmart make, I would imagine they get discounts that no one else can get.

As for the ecommerce side of their business, Walmart will be using a service just like ours to monitor prices (unfortunately not us though!), and this will provide them with pricing intelligence, such as when prices change and by how much, as well as identifying any trends.

It seems Walmart is in a dominating position, they have recognised the necessity for competitor monitoring, and in addition to this they can afford to offer the lowest prices on pretty much anything they sell, so it looks like they're in a good position to regain that declining customer base.

Posted on April 13th 2011 at 02:17pm by James
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