Recently, Walmart updated their popular mobile application with a new feature, the savings catcher.
Instead of searching through competitors ads manually to try and find prices for the cashier to match, customers can upload their receipt and have the retail giant do the research for them.
If the app finds a lower price from a local competitor, it will notify the customer who receives a refund for the price difference on an electronic gift card.
Built on the promise of providing the lowest prices possible, Walmart’s new savings catcher app is the company’s latest attempt retaining the crown as the shopping destination for price-sensitive shoppers.
The Evolution of “Everyday Low Price”
On it’s surface, using the savings catcher is a no-brainer for customers. The process is simple, and the only thing a customer has to do is take a picture of their sales receipt. After the app is done comparing prices with local competitors, it will send an email to the customer with their savings.
Once you dig into the specifics, however, you start to see that the app has several glaring exceptions. It will only compare exact items so store brands and “bonus sizes,” often where the lowest cost per ounce is found, are excluded. Additionally, Buy One Get One (BOGO) offers and sales where you receive a discount for buying in bulk are also not included. The largest exception is that, similar to their in-store policy, the app will not compare the purchase price with online offerings, including those offered by walmart.com.
For the savvy comparison shopper, it’s likely that they can still find better savings by comparing prices on their own, but the app will find savings for customers who typically would not do this research on their own.
Connecting Offline Shopping Patterns With Online Accounts
While the app could go a long way in helping the retail giant maintain their position as the low-cost king, the app offers another benefit for the company that competitors should take note of. In order to claim their refunded savings, customers need to have their app connected to a walmart.com account.
Once a customer’s receipt is uploaded, Walmart can use this data to track purchasing patterns, including discovering what items customers are likely to buy online, and which they almost always purchase in the store. Other retailers offer loyalty cards in an attempt to get the same data, but getting a customer to remember to use their card consistently on and off line can be difficult.
With the savings catcher, customer’s don’t need to remember to scan a card, or pay with the appropriate credit card, they simply need to take picture of their receipt for a chance at savings. The new addition to Walmart’s popular mobile app is sure to go over well with customer, thanks to it’s intuitively simple submission process.
The data Walmart could potentially glean from the savings catcher is invaluable. For the first time, they’ll be able to combine their customer’s offline and online purchasing patterns and re-evaluate inventory decisions accordingly. In today’s increasingly information driven economy, Walmart likely hopes that the Savings Catcher will give them a competitive edge over Target and other traditional retail stores while giving them a tool to take on digital retailers like Amazon.