Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is testing a program to match online prices in an effort to compete in the cutthroat holiday shopping season.
While the company already has a price-matching program for local, in-store customers, executives are discussing whether or not to go ahead and make it available online, reported The Wall Street Journal. The potential is twofold: It could give the brand a leg-up on the competition, but could also cut profits.
The company is taking into consideration how much Walmart might lose in profit if the program went nationwide. Deisha Barnett, a spokeswoman for Walmart, said the company's focus is taking care of its customers and that store managers already have discretion to match some online prices.
Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Target (NYSE:TGT) already have programs in place to match online prices. The idea is to keep customers from making purchases elsewhere, such as on Amazon.
Walmart's competitive edge relies largely on pricing. During a recent annual meeting for the investment community, CEO Doug McMillon announced that the company would continue to invest in new capabilities and improve the customer experience. He also outlined the four key customer dimensions that Walmart is focused on for winning over consumers of the future: price, assortment, experience and access.
Walmart, with the reputation as the low-price leader, could have a lot at stake as the holiday shopping wars heat up. Target announced last week that it was offering free shipping through the season, and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced early access to deals for its Prime members.
However, Walmart has already pledged to make sure every register is open in every store during the busy holiday season. The "checkout promise" will begin the weekend after Black Friday and continue each weekend and into the final weekdays leading up to Christmas.
-See this The Wall Street Journal article
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