Walmart grocery

If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to do your grocery shopping at Walmart, this alternative sounds like a dream – you make your grocery list at home, send it to Walmart, drive to the store when you want to, and have your groceries loaded into your car without even having to get out. It sure beats searching for a decent parking spot, making your way through the cavernous store, wandering the aisles looking for everything on your list, then dealing with a cashier who questions your coupons and your ad matching requests.

Oh, except in this scenario, you can’t use coupons or ad match at all.

So how good an alternative is this, really?

The scenario as described is Walmart’s free online grocery pickup service, which is poised for a rapid expansion that could soon bring it to your neighborhood, if it isn’t there already. The retailer announced yesterday that the service will soon be available in more than twice as many markets as it is now.

By mid-October, select stores in Atlanta, Nashville, Tucson, Colorado Springs, Charlotte & Fayetteville, North Carolina and Salt Lake City & Ogden, Utah will join the five current test markets of San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Huntsville and Bentonville, Arkansas in offering click-and-collect groceries. That will bring the total number of Walmart stores offering the service to 107, in 11 markets, and Walmart promises to add more stores in even more markets in the coming weeks.

“This new, easy shopping experience is an innovation that’s helpful for anyone with a busy schedule – particularly moms with small children,” Walmart eCommerce chief Michael Bender announced in a company blog post. “They can shop online and choose the pickup time that works for them, and they never have to unbuckle anyone’s seat belt.”

But what’s the cost of that convenience?

Unlike many grocery delivery services, with their marked-up prices and hefty delivery charges or subscription fees, ordering online and picking up your groceries yourself is more economical. In most markets, the minimum order for Walmart’s grocery pickup service is just $30, and there’s no service fee. You just make your selections online and prepay with a credit card.

And therein lies the problem when it comes to coupons and ad matching – if you’re paying for your groceries before you even get to the store, and employees have everything bagged up for you when you arrive, there’s no opportunity to scan coupons or ask for any price adjustments. So the listed prices are the prices you pay, period.

Walmart does offer occasional total-purchase coupon codes, including a current offer for 10% off your first online order. But as for coupons for individual items – no dice. You either pay Walmart’s “everyday low prices”, or you get out of your car, clutching your coupons, and go grocery shopping the old-fashioned way.

And many of Walmart’s customers say that’s a problem. In a newly-released report, the retail research company Field Agent revealed results from a survey of 500 shoppers who had used Walmart’s online grocery pickup service. And the number-one reason that shoppers said they might be less likely to use Walmart’s grocery pickup service in the future, was the inability to use coupons. That was cited by 59% of those surveyed, well ahead of the 46% who cited the standard main concern of online grocery shoppers – the inability to see, touch, smell or pick out their own perishables.

Altogether, a whopping 91% said the ability to use coupons, or to take advantage of other in-store discounts, was either “very” or “extremely” important to them. “Shopping online is a huge time saver for a busy working person,” one respondent said. “However, price and the ability to shop sales and take advantage of promotions would be critical to me using the service.”

Walmart is far from alone, though, in making coupons and online shopping an either-or proposition. Its online grocery pickup policies echo those of other retailers, in reinforcing the relative incompatibility of coupons and online grocery shopping. Paper coupons simply don’t have much of a place in a digital retail ecosystem.

But that could result in an opening for – you guessed it – digital coupons. The Midwestern retailer Meijer doesn’t accept paper coupons for online orders, but it’s bucking the no-coupon trend by accepting digital coupons. That’s because “Meijer Curbside” customers don’t actually pay until they pick up their groceries. So when they drive up to the store, they can have their digital grocery coupons deducted from their loyalty account before they pay, just as they do when shopping inside.

Most other retailers that offer both online grocery pickup and digital coupons, haven’t managed to combine them in the way Meijer has. And Walmart doesn’t offer digital coupons at all. So if you want to do your Walmart grocery shopping from home, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

And ultimately, depending on how you feel about shopping at Walmart, you may decide that getting Walmart prices without having to set foot in the store or do battle with a cashier over your coupons, just might be worth it.

11 Comments

  1. I am retired from WalMart and can’t use my associate discount. However, I do use the Savings Catcher. That means I am getting the best price of all the stores in my area. I am not able to walk a Big SuperCenter and Not able to load my car. This is perfect for me.
    Another savings is WalMart does not charge a fee and they don’t want you to tip. I have used other means of grocery delivery and pickup. These fees add up.
    Once I get home – I let my grandson carry the groceries in. Oh Yes – OF COURSE I give him a little money but I would anyway. lol.

  2. Walgreens applies coupons on online purchases. They even tell you about them.

  3. Our walmart does not take payment until you pick up your groceries and explains any substitutions they may have made, with the right to refuse the substitutes . You do have to use the card you have on file. Our walmart also has the same sales prices as other stores have in their ads most of the time. Also price catcher that price matches. The online grocery also remembers your previously ordered products and shows them when you go on again to order. Love it.

  4. Our walmart does not take payment until you pick up your groceries and explains any substitutions they may have made, with the right to refuse the substitutes . You do have to use the card you have on file. Our walmart also has the same sales prices as other stores have in their ads most of the time. Also price catcher that price matches. The online grocery also remembers your previously ordered products and shows them when you go on again to order. Love it.

  5. I did the Walmart click list for the 2nd time the other day. When the guy who brought out my groceries asked how I liked the service, I mentioned that it would just be nice to use coupons. He said that you can! This was in Spring Hill, TN by the way. He said that there was a lady who got her groceries using their click list service and gave him a coupon for $.50 off something. Apparently she made a big deal out of the $.50. lol Anyway, he asked for my coupons, but I told him that I didn’t have them with me. I left them at home since I didn’t plan on using them. He explained that he would just take the coupons to customer service, but that it is doable. I’m not sure if they actually put the $.50 on a Walmart card for that other lady or just gave her change.

  6. You may not be able to use coupons but you can use the Walmart savings catcher. The code is at the top of your emailed receipt.

  7. I know this is an old post, but wanted to comment.

    I’ve been using Walmart’s Pick Up for about 3 months now and I really like it. The one near me has high quality produce (they compete with Publix and Kroger down the street), so I have had great experiences. For me it’s not an all in concept. Either do all my shopping online or go into the store, exclusively.

    I used to go grocery shopping every, single Saturday. It was a like 2 hour process. With the pick up service, I only go twice a month and only for 30 minutes…I use my coupons then, and get discounted meats to put in the freezer.

    It took some time organizing my system, but I love not spending so much time in the store and being able to just pick up. For me using the service to reduce the amount of times I need to go is golden…

  8. I rarely shop at Wally World, these days. Their produce sucks monkey balls and the three stores in my area, do not support local farmers.

    Have a great weekend, Bill. It’s chilly here today. Burrrrr.

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