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There’s a new wrinkle in Walmart’s series of advertisements that challenge shoppers to compare receipts from other stores with receipts for the same items purchased at Walmart. Now, you can accept their challenge without even having to go to Walmart – they’ll do the price comparison for you.

In what a Walmart spokesperson tells us is “very, very, very much a test” right now, the “Walmart Receipt Comparison Tool” quietly went live last week. There’s been little fanfare – Walmart hasn’t announced the launch, and so far it’s only available to shoppers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Atlanta and Chicago, with no immediate plans to expand further.

The website invites you to submit a photo of a recent grocery receipt from a Walmart competitor, along with an email address. And within a day or two, Walmart will respond with its calculation of how much you would have spent for the same items at Walmart. As an enticement to try it out, Walmart is offering a $10 gift card to the first 100 shoppers who submit a receipt each day through September 1st, in cities where the tool is available.

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The fine print says only receipts from the past week, and with at least ten items, are eligible. The comparison does take into account competitors’ “special deals, loyalty card savings and special pricing,” but “we do not include any redeemed coupons in the comparison.” You also have the option of sharing your results via Facebook, Twitter or email, though Walmart offers the friendly reminder that “if you share the results, please note that the comparable items on your receipt will be identifiable by others.” So if you bought anything you don’t want the whole world to know about, better pick a different receipt, or keep it to yourself.

“It’s not a new concept, just a new tool,” the spokesperson tells us. In fact, the Receipt Comparison Tool is an extension of the retailer’s five-month-old print and broadcast ad campaign that features real shoppers and actual receipts, and challenges readers and viewers to “bring in the receipt from your usual grocery store or drugstore… to see for yourself how much you could have saved” at Walmart. (read more here: “Always Low Prices. Always. (Sometimes.)”). Different versions of these ads are currently running in more than two dozen cities, customized with the names of local competitors. “But the message is always the same,” said Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon last week, “Walmart wins on the overall basket of items.”

At least one retailer, called out by name in some of Walmart’s ads, is fighting back. Even if Walmart wins on price, it says, price isn’t everything. “If you’ve seen the recent ads from Walmart,” reads an ad from Milwaukee-based Pick ‘n Save, “it’s clear they believe shoppers are motivated by price alone. But at Pick ‘n Save, we believe you also want fresh products and good service.” (read more here: “The Walmart Challenge: A Competitor Fights Back”). Devotees of other grocery stores that are the target of Walmart’s comparisons have also weighed in, saying sometimes the shopping experience outweighs low prices alone. (read more here: “Challenging The ‘Walmart Challenge'”)

Still, “customers are responding favorably to the message,” insists Simon. “We’re proud that we do so well competitively on the basket challenges.” And if a Receipt Comparison Tool user finds that a competitor actually has lower prices, “just tell us,” the website says, “and we’ll match the price right at the register,” with the store’s “Ad Match Guarantee.”

The bottom line, says Simon: “Our customers appreciate value, especially in uncertain economic times.” And as Walmart brandishes this new weapon in its battle for value-conscious customers, the ones who are really worried about “uncertain economic times” may be Walmart’s competitors themselves.

3 Comments

  1. I tried out the Walmart Receipt Comparison tool this week after shopping at Meijer. Walmart is using some seriously questionable math to determine the “savings” one enjoys shopping Walmart over another store.

    Once the comparison was returned, the total of the Walmart prices listed were more than 20% higher than the prices I paid at Meijer — yet the price comparison announced that I could have saved 65% had I shopped at Walmart.

    They’re using some very questionable math to do their comparisons. Items that are part of a “$10 for 10” sale are being counted as $10 -each-, not $1 each. I blogged about this here, with screenshots of my receipt and Walmart’s report: http://www.jillcataldo.com/walmart_comparison_tool_lies

    http://www.jillcataldo.com/walmart_comparison_tool_lies

  2. Pingback: 2251 Wall St » A New Walmart Tool Lets You Compare Prices To Just About Everywhere Else

  3. Pingback: A New Walmart Tool Lets You Compare Prices To Just About Everywhere Else « Money & Business

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