The future is now, and Walmart is on top of it. The big box chain announced that it will be rolling out Savings Catcher, an online price comparison tool, starting this summer. As far as shopping technology goes, this one is in a league of its own.
Savings Catcher essentially aggregates the prices (and sales) available at competing store brands, and then uses their own prices against them by offering gift cards to make up the price difference whenever the Walmart comparison tool spots a lower price at the competition. In essence, it does the heavy lifting of price matching for consumers so that they don’t have to – and conveniently gives them concrete value-driven reasons to visit Walmart instead of going somewhere else.
At an annual meeting this month, Walmart revealed the tool as a part of a comprehensive digital strategy aimed at consumers who, as a whole, are already increasingly using social media and the internet to find bargains and savings:
“Our customers are savvier than ever when it comes to finding the best deals — they are using technology to do their research and spending hours clipping coupons. We knew there had to be an easier way,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Walmart U.S. “Savings Catcher offers customers yet another reason to trust us when it comes to helping them save. It brings greater price transparency to the market and gives our customers confidence that they are finding some of the best deals available in retail.”
With the internet in play, Amazon could very well be a target of Walmart’s price matching tool – to say nothing of, well, Target and other brick and mortar box stores. If the rollout goes well, this could certainly be a coup for Walmart in terms of sales and bringing in new customers. But it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long term – after all, competing retailers will gain nothing by just dropping their prices, as Walmart’s Savings Catcher will simply aggregate it and make up the difference. Retailers will soon be feeling the pressure to not only ramp up their own technology, but to offer something more – whether it’s customer service or loyalty perks – to make this battle about more than just price alone. Because right now, Walmart’s got price on lock.