Walmart: e-receipts are a platform for new technologies

Bentonville, Ark. -- Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has rolled out the Savings Catcher price matching program nationwide and while the technology will allow the retailer to keep its everyday low price promise, it will also create e-receipts that bring a host of other benefits to both shoppers and Walmart.

Savings Catcher was created in collaboration between Walmart's Technology Center and its @Walmartlabs division in California's Silicon Valley. The program lets shoppers enter or scan a code from the receipt of a recent Walmart purchase and then searches for lower advertised prices from a competitor. If found, the shopper is issued a gift card for the difference.

In the process, an e-receipt is created.

"This is a platform on which we can build other applications," said Gibu Thomas, Walmart senior VP, mobile and digital, global e-commerce.

Walmart's e-receipts are more than simply a digital copy emailed to the shoppers. They are dynamic and delivered to a dedicated receipt locker housed on Walmart's website and app. Receipts are organized by day with full search functionality.

Walmart is in the process of using these e-receipts to create predictive shopping lists and budgeting tools, Thomas told the media during a tour of Walmart's Innovation Labs prior to the annual shareholder meeting on Friday, June 6.

The budgeting feature lets shoppers create a list and enter their budget for that shopping trip. Walmart can then suggest products, including alternative items and store brands, to help the shopper stay within her budget. Suggesting items based on prior shopping trips is something many shoppers are accustomed to while online, but integrating the feature into the mobile platform reaches them while in stores.

Shopper research shows the top concerns for Walmart customers are price and convenience, and these new functions are intended to assist with both.

"My hope is the least interesting thing about this is the e-receipt," said Thomas. "It's the app being built on top of it that's really (important)."

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