Walmart's Savings Catcher compares competitors' prices

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) has launched a new online tool called the Savings Catcher, which helps shoppers nab the lowest price on grocery and household items. The tool compares prices on 80,000 items to those of its competitors and if a lower price is found, the shopper receives the cost difference via store credit.

The Savings Catcher is an innovative way for Walmart to make good on its "everyday low price" guarantee. The retailer began offering the feature on its website late last month in seven metro markets including Dallas, San Diego and Atlanta. The tool compares advertised prices at retailers with physical stores in the same geographic area only, and does not include data from ecommerce competitors, such as Amazon. Walmart also only checks against branded items, so lower-cost store brands will not apply.

Here's how the tool works: Shoppers who make a purchase at a Walmart store will receive a receipt with a printed code at the bottom. Shoppers need to register the number online at the Savings Catcher website within seven days of purchase. Savings Catcher compares prices of every item on the receipt to a database of advertised prices of competitors. The database is provided by an undisclosed third party that analyzes retail ads. If a lower price is found, the shopper will receive an email with the value of the price difference issued onto an online gift card. Shoppers can use the credit in stores or online by printing out the gift card receipt.

Price-matching programs are nothing new, but the Savings Catcher is unique because it does the work for the shopper. Typically, shoppers are responsible for finding a lower deal elsewhere and providing proof of the cheaper cost, such as with programs at rivals Target (NYSE: TGT) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY). Walmart is the first retailer to offer an all-in-one price-finding and price-matching service of this kind.

Walmart said it is monitoring the pilot program to see how shoppers respond, but it does not have plans to add online stores to the test. Preliminary data from the pilot shows that Savings Catcher customers place more items in their shopping carts during in-store trips, reports USA Today.

Online and in-store omnichannel strategies such as Savings Catcher are becoming more in-demand by cost-conscious shoppers. A recent study found that online programs that help shoppers save money and time, such as click-and-ship or ship-to-store options, are becoming a must-have for retailers. Despite rising demand for new online features, nearly all (94 percent) of retail decision-makers said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omnichannel organization.

For more:
-See this Associated Press article
-See this USA Today article

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