Walmart wants customers to stop using its 4,300 stores in the U.S. as a showroom–where they look at products in person, and then buy them online for cheaper. Beginning Friday, the retailer said it will match prices against online retailers, including Amazon.
“About half of the stores were doing it anyway,” Greg Foran, CEO for Walmart in the U.S., said in a conference call with analysts Thursday. Ultimately, managers have the final say in whether to match an online price, but they have all been informed of the policy change. The new move may be savvy marketing, but it also reveals just how much the physical retail giant is concerned about online competitors during the upcoming holiday season.
Walmart made the announcement following the release of its earnings, which narrowly beat analyst expectations. The new policy comes as Walmart has been aggressively advertising its Savings Center app, through which shoppers scan their receipt and, if a local competitor has a lower advertised price, the shopper receives an e-gift card for the difference.