Just ahead of another busy shopping season, Walmart confirmed that it has updated its price-matching policy company-wide to allow its retail stores to match the prices from nearly any online retailer, including top competitor Amazon. The new policy is meant to extend the informal price-matching store managers have already implemented at local stores, in addition to the Ad Matching policy that has Walmart matching the prices from local brick-and-mortar retailers’ advertised sales.
The company’s new policy with regard to online price matching, found here, lists dozens of top retailers’ websites, including Amazon, Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Walgreens, Petco, Best Buy, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Target, Staples, JCPenney, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Petsmart, and many more. It even includes Walmart.com, in the case that the company’s own e-commerce arm has an item on sale for less than those on Walmart’s store shelves.
The move is aimed at cutting down on the practice of “showrooming,” where consumers check out physical products at local stores, then shop for a better deal on the web. It’s a practice that has caused troubles for many traditional retailers, quite a few of which have had to close up shop, or went bankrupt over the years as consumers shifted to shopping online.
Walmart tells us that the new policy only put into writing the price-matching that was already taking place in local stores, and that store managers can continue to price-match other online retailers not explicitly listed in the policy at their own discretion.
The price-matching is not one that involves a price drop guarantee, however. That is, you can’t bring in proof of an online sale after the fact and get a refund for the difference. Instead, the retailer explains, the price-matching is done in real-time for “like” items (same size, color, quantity, etc.) In other words, the product you’ve just googled for or scanned with ShopSavvy or Amazon’s app, for example, while standing in the aisle.
The change comes at a time when the retailer has been feeling the pressures of Amazon and others’ advances in the e-commerce space. Walmart recently announced another quarter without growth, and cut its profit forecasts in part due to its efforts in increasing its e-commerce capabilities, including the addition of new fulfillment centers designed to expand support for next-day deliveries.