A new tool used by Walmart could succeed in shaking up the pricing world once again.
Walmart said it has unveiled a tool to use online that compares prices it has on over 80,000 household and food products from dishwashing soap to canned beans, with the prices from its competitors.
If a price is found lower at another establishment, Walmart will refund the full difference to its shoppers through a store credit.
The largest retailer in the world started offering this new feature it calls Savings Catcher on its online site in late February in seven large markets that includes Atlanta, Dallas and San Diego. The tool is able to compare prices at different retailers that have physical stores, but not with rivals online such as Amazon.com that for example offer competitive prices on items such as staples.
This move by the largest retailer in the world, which has a long history for undercutting the prices of competitors, could not just change how people shop, but how other competitor’s price merchandise. Americans, after all, are increasingly searching for lower prices on smartphones and tablets while sitting in the checkout aisles.
This is done so often by shoppers that the big retailers including places such as Best Buy and Target have begun to offer the matching of lower prices of their rivals, but just if their shoppers perform the research themselves.
The idea behind the online feature by Walmart is to perform the legwork for its customers.
A similar type of program was launched by Citibank in 2012 that sends credit card account holders at Citi a check in the amount of the difference if the bank finds lower prices from retailers online.
However, Walmart has become the first traditional type retailer to offer the program and if successful there are sure to be others that follow.
After sending out queries to some of the competitors of Walmart, it was not clear whether they were going to follow Walmart’s move or not.
Walmart did not immediately explain why it does not include online prices in its comparisons.
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