Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Internet Network Technology

Walmart Is Raising Prices Online To Increase In-Store Traffic (theverge.com) 133

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Walmart is taking a bit of an nontraditional approach to boost sales ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events by raising prices for products sold online and discounting those same items in physical retail stores. According to The Wall Street Journal, the big-box store has quietly raised prices for household and food items such as toothbrushes, macaroni and cheese, and dog food on its website while the prices in stores remained the same. If there are price discrepancies between online and in-store purchases, Walmart will now highlight this on the product's web listing to encourage customers to buy them from their local stores. It's all part of an effort to increase foot traffic as Walmart continues to compete with Amazon just about everywhere else.

With the new pricing strategy, a twin-pack of Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper costs $3.30 on Walmart.com, but goes as low as $2.50 if purchased at a store in Illinois. The aim is to also help reduce processing costs and increase online sales margins, since driving customers to stores means less shipping costs for the retailer. Shipping one box of instant macaroni and cheese from Chicago to Atlanta could cost Walmart as much as $10, reports the WSJ.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Walmart Is Raising Prices Online To Increase In-Store Traffic

Comments Filter:
  • Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:16PM (#55558451) Journal
    Letâ(TM)s say Jimmy is shopping on Walmartâ(TM)s website. Heâ(TM)s shopping there because he doesnâ(TM)t want to go to a brink-n-mortar. He sees the price difference and thinks to himself âoeDang! Itâ(TM)s almost $1.00 cheaper in the store. I wonder what Amazonâ(TM)s price would be? Wow. Amazon is .50 cents cheaper online, and plus I wonâ(TM)t have to go to the store. Iâ(TM)ll just order from Amazon.â Walmart is absolutely clueless.
    • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Informative)

      by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:20PM (#55558491)
      The general consensus around where I live is that people must go to Amazon for the selection instead of the price, because Amazon is usually more expensive. Most people around here go to brick and mortars for this reason. Once they can't find it at a brick and mortar, then they'll try something like Amazon.
      • Re:Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:28PM (#55558527) Journal

        Drive through fast food and even liquor stores. Convenience stores where you can get a common grocery item quicker, but at an increased markup.

        Sometimes it is the selection, occasionally it is the price, but ordering from the comfort of one's home is generally the ultimate in expedient convenience. Ordering household goods in your jammy pants with an adult beverage is almost worth missing the freak show at the block and mortar retailer.

        • If Amazon Prime Pantry had a decent selection, that would have sold me on paying for Prime. It's a hell of a concept, but they're nowhere close to replacing our local grocery store, even for non-perishables.

          Drive to the store, or have a box appear on the doorstep? There's measurable value in the doorstep option, both time and money.

        • missing the freak show at the block and mortar retailer

          So I was visiting the USA on a work trip and asked my colleagues what I should do while I'm here. The answer (facetiously) was to "Go down to the local Walmart and witness American culture."

          I told them I've already seen the "people of Walmart" website so they instead invited me out to a jazz bar :-)

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Drive through fast food and even liquor stores. Convenience stores where you can get a common grocery item quicker, but at an increased markup.

          OK.... Admittedly I usually eat in when travelling through America but are drive through's really more expensive than going inside? In Australia and the UK, Micky D's is usually the same price? In fact with a restaurant, take away is usually cheaper than eat in.

          Convenience stores, yep you've got a point but supermarkets run on stupidly thin margins that a local corner shop cant compete with. Usually when I'm accepting that I'm paying a premium for something its because I want it now and not even same day

          • OK.... Admittedly I usually eat in when travelling through America but are drive through's really more expensive than going inside?

            I dunno who said that.

            In the US, for fast food, the drive through is the exact same price as going in.

            I generally tend to go in, so I can more easily review my order and make sure they don't leave shit out of the bag.

          • No, but price for what you get is more for fast food than cooking it yourself.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Amazon:
        Kellogg's Corn Flakes, 18 Oz
        $2.79, Prime Shipping

        Walmart online:
        Kellogg's Corn Flakes, 18 ounce box
        $3.83, Free Shipping.

        I'd buy from Amazon.

        • And it's 2.78 if you go to the store, you could even use the curbside pickup so you don't have to walk into the evil place. they'll load it in your car for you.

          https://brickseek.com/walmart-... [brickseek.com]

          What WM really needs to do is get in bed with the post office like Amazon has. Every night at midnight, WM dispatches one truck to the local USPS DDU with the orders for the zip codes that DDU services. "Next Delivery for all your essentials!". Use each store as a local warehouse. Target does that already
          • The fuel I'd use getting there to do the curbside pickup is more expensive then the penny I'd be saving. And I wouldn't have to deal with traffic, the Walmart parking lot, etc. And the time I don't spend driving there is better utilized doing other things, unless I just really fucking need corn flakes right fucking now.

          • So I'm going to spend 20 minutes getting dressed, locating my keys, driving to the store, waiting for them to bring it out, driving back home plus 10 miles of gasoline. Take the risk of getting a ticket, getting into an accident, getting my car dinged in the parking lot.

            For 10 cents?

            Walmart better hope there isn't a cheaper option on amazon.

            It does suck for brick and mortar and it is destroying local economies. But it's one of the few ways middle income people actually get the benefits of increased produ

      • The general consensus around where I live is that people must go to Amazon for the selection instead of the price, because Amazon is usually more expensive. Most people around here go to brick and mortars for this reason. Once they can't find it at a brick and mortar, then they'll try something like Amazon.

        Amazon is convenient, especially when coupled with fast, free Prime shipping. I'll often pay a small amount more for something marked "Amazon Prime" because I know I'll receive it within a day or two. I know it's not going to end up UPS ground from somewhere across the country that gets here a week later. It's also comfortable because I know they have a good, hassle free return policy. Key being a small amount, it doesn't take long for me to verify that I'm not over-paying for something by a signi

        • Yes, Two-Day Shipping is fast, but when it takes several days for the seller to ship the damn thing, that don't mean much!

      • People around you must have ample free time. Going to the store, searching around, and coming back costs about 30 minutes. How much is a half hour of your life worth?
        • Well we choose to live somewhere where work is less than 20 minutes away and the grocery store is on the way home from there, if that's what you mean.
    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      The stuff I (used to) buy from walmart.com is the grocery stuff I wouldn't expect to buy from Amazon.

      I did notice two weeks ago that Wally has increased online prices compared to in-store, and figured that shipping cost was the reason.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > ... Let's say Jimmy is shopping on Walmart's website. He's shopping there because he doesn't want to go to a brink-n-mortar. He sees the price difference and thinks to himself "Dang! It's almost $1.00 cheaper in the store. I wonder what Amazon's price would be? Wow. Amazon is .50 cents cheaper online, and plus I won't have to go to the store. I'll just order from Amazon" Walmart is absolutely clueless ...

      Look at Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penny, Macy's, Sak's 5th Avenue

      Look at KMart, Target, Walmart

      Look at To

    • Coincidentally, I just priced Mobil 1 ATF at WalMart and AutoZone... a few years ago I would have expected WalMart to beat AutoZone by 20%, but today the reverse is the case: AutoZone 9.99, WalMart 12.99 for the same product.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      Letâ(TM)s say Jimmy is shopping on Walmartâ(TM)s website. Heâ(TM)s shopping there because he doesnâ(TM)t want to go to a brink-n-mortar. He sees the price difference and thinks to himself âoeDang! Itâ(TM)s almost $1.00 cheaper in the store. I wonder what Amazonâ(TM)s price would be? Wow. Amazon is .50 cents cheaper online, and plus I wonâ(TM)t have to go to the store. Iâ(TM)ll just order from Amazon.â

      Is Jimmy really comparison shopping on a $4 box of macaroni, or is he only shopping around for expensive things?

      Walmart is absolutely clueless.

      Walmart may be a lot of things, but "clueless" is not one of them -- they probably have the best understanding of their customers than any other retailer -- they've been amassing customer information and analyzing way longer than almost any other customer - they were processing Big Data before Big Data was a buzzword.

      • Target has much better BI than wal-mart, it's their entire niche business strategy.
        Wal-mart is clueless they've stopped innovating and have increased profits by fucking everyone as hard as they can, customers, suppliers, and of course workers. Then they pat themselves on the back.

        You wanna see clueless, go do a glassdoor on walmart labs.

        • I forgot the way they brainwash their employees too. It seems you may have consumed some of the kool-aid.

        • Target has much better BI than wal-mart, it's their entire niche business strategy.

          You should look into the fiasco that was their expansion into Canada. Hint: They were here for maybe a year and pulled out because they had no clue.

          • Well that doesn't mean they don't have much better BI than walmart. Their whole strategy is to be just a little bit ahead of wal-mart and they're doing ok. Failure to successfully replicate a business model in a new location is very common.

            The only thing wal-mart knows about it's customers is they're desperate white trash and they serve them well.

    • I'll gladly pay extra to not step foot into a Walmart. Of course, I don't shop their web site either, so I guess it makes no difference.

    • Or as I was immediately thinking when I saw the article title, regarding whoever's idea this was...

      "You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?"

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      LetÃ(TM)s say Jimmy is shopping on WalmartÃ(TM)s website. HeÃ(TM)s shopping there because he doesnÃ(TM)t want to go to a brink-n-mortar. He sees the price difference and thinks to himself ÃoeDang! ItÃ(TM)s almost $1.00 cheaper in the store. I wonder what AmazonÃ(TM)s price would be? Wow. Amazon is .50 cents cheaper online, and plus I wonÃ(TM)t have to go to the store. IÃ(TM)ll just order from Amazon.Ã Walmart is absolutely clueless.

      Dear Slashdot, I *literally* couldn't stand to read this. Please fix kthxbye.

  • They should consider volume discounts on purchase of multiples or not bother offering low margin products in single quantities online. It seems a bit unreasonable to expect free shipping on a box of macaroni and cheese across the country.
    • Still it does not cost $10 to ship a box of macaroni anywhere.
      • I agree, but even Amazon has 5-10 buck shipping on items without Prime and without hitting the free-shipping threshold for cost.

    • They usually have a $35 for free shipping at Walmart.com or free in-store pickup. I'm sure they have crazy shipping charges to encourage people to buy more things.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the summary:

    "Shipping one box of instant macaroni and cheese from Chicago to Atlanta could cost Walmart as much as $10, reports the WSJ."

    I know that nowadays billing proper shipping costs to the consumer is such a radical idea, but maybe they should try THAT instead of rising products prices. Would make a whole lot more sense.

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @10:22PM (#55559553) Journal

      I'm wondering why the Wall Street Journal thinks that walmart would need to ship individual boxes of mac and cheese over 700 miles through the heart of the midwest, and why that particular statistic is of any relevance to anything at all.

      What, has there been a run on mac and cheese in Chicago, and the 500+ stores and god knows how many distribution centers are all tapped out? Or does Atlanta boxed mac and cheese taste better than Chicago boxed mac and cheese? And god damn it, I need my shitty boxed mac and cheese RIGHT FUCKING NOW, so you'd better same-day that shit.

    • Coincidentally, these price hikes for online items coincide with WalMart initiating a "free shipping on everything online" program. So, almost like they just bake in the shipping costs instead of having a sneaky method of trying to get people in the store.

      But of course, they aren't going to ship from Chicago to Atlanta. A huge part of WalMart's success is their ability to cheaply (logistically) move stuff around the country.

  • Make sure you list both prices online then, with a clear explanation - Otherwise, I'll just think that Walmart just sucks in terms of prices, compared to other stores in that timeframe.

    I already shop at Aldi for most food items, and use Slickdeals and other comparisson shopping places for most non-perishables. Walmart has long since lost its image as a 'low prices' store - and now sits in my mind as the same as the old department stores as a place I only go for specials and items I can't find elsewhere.

    I d

  • I don't feel safe shopping at Walmart, which is why I don't shop at Walmart
  • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro@gma i l . com> on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:26PM (#55558517) Homepage Journal

    Walmart will now highlight this on the product's web listing to encourage customers to buy them from their local stores. It's all part of an effort to increase foot traffic as Walmart continues to compete with Amazon just about everywhere else.

    And the thing that stops a person from just going to another website with a likely-lower price is...?

    I even RTFA (okay, skimmed) to see if there was an answer to this question. I honestly don't know why someone would feel compelled to actually drive to a store (Wal-mart or otherwise) to purchase an item that they already intended to purchase online, especially since it's likely there are other retailers who will have lower prices after Wal-mart increases theirs. (The referenced WSJ article is paywalled so I can't look there for answers, either.)

    And from TFA:

    Shipping one box of instant macaroni and cheese from Chicago to Atlanta could cost Walmart as much as $10, reports the WSJ.

    ...so charge $10 to ship it? I realize things like Amazon Prime have made a lot of people expect cheap or free shipping, but that's an aberration, not a requirement, of online shopping.

    • that's an aberration, not a requirement, of online shopping.

      Tell that to the people who have been trained by Prime to expect free shipping. One of the largest challengers brick and mortar retailers face in the e-commerce space is overcoming that expectation. Up to this point retailers have done this by cutting into their own profit margins trying to out-Amazon Amazon. It's interesting to see Walmart trying the alternative approach of slightly raising prices in exchange for the convenience of home shopping.

      The only reason Amazon is able to do it in the first place

    • ..so charge $10 to ship it? I

      They're new ad program is free shipping of everything, all the time, no membership program (like Prime) required.

      I've done a lot of price comparisons online, and on some things WalMart was the clear winner.

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:27PM (#55558519)
    I buy $500 TVs, $300 DVD players, $199 PS4 consoles, etc. For $0.49 I'm perfectly happy in Vons.
    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:31PM (#55558561)
      You spend $300 on a DVD player? For that price, you could get a mediocre HTPC and some storage to boot... DVDs are so 2007.
    • Before I go walking from store to store to find exactly what I'm looking for sometimes it's just easier to click the buy button when you're already mid-research. My smallest online transaction has been $0.60 and it somehow included shipping. My smallest item purchased was a single physical screw, because stuff buying a 10 pack and having 9 laying around.

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:27PM (#55558525)

    Delivery isn't free. If it's "free", then you're being overcharged if you go and buy it in person.

    Yes, retail infrastructure costs money to maintain, but so does shipping/warehousing/IT infrastructure.

    • Driving to the store isn't free, either. I have better things to do with my short time on earth than spend it at Walmart.
    • Walmart's rise to retail domination is beholden to supply chain management, [tradegecko.com]

      Amazon's claim-to-fame is next-to-nothing shipping.

      Walmart recently bought Jet and Zoro, and though the Walton heirs will still be purchasing the name-brand milk this week, Jeff Bezos just became world's richest man. [cnn.com]

      • Amazon charges for shipping -- they just mostly include the costs in the item cost.
        • they also appear to even it out over all the volume they do - I got "free" shipping on a water heater that was maybe $20 more expensive than the same model from local retailers, where either I had to get the thing (rent a truck / van) or they would deliver for $75 - that practically paid for the Prime membership for the year just on that one purchase.

    • If delivery made so little economic sense, why is Amazon buying brick-and-mortar stores like Whole Foods?

      • Didn't you kind of answer your own question? Delivery makes little economic sense, so Amazon bought a brick and mortar stores. The above poster kind of talked about overhead with warehouses, but Walmart has those too.

  • ... there were another online store where I could get my shopping done.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:43PM (#55558609) Homepage
    Walmart's website is one big clusterfuck of design. They need to learn from other sites how to do it. Lowe's online site is a great example. Not only can I tell if an item is available at my local store, they actually give me a map of the local store and tell me exactly where to find what I'm looking for. And every time I go to the site it knows which local store I live near.

    I think the reason Walmart can't do that is because they're constantly moving stuff around in their stores. In fact, if it's been a few weeks since my last visit, I have trouble finding what I knew was there before.

    Shopping at walmart.com is a headache. Searching for an item is just about impossible. Once you find it you still don't know if it's available locally or online because the site forgets where you're shopping!
    • A friend ran into that the other day and bought an item she thought was from Walmart, but was actually from a 3rd party vendor. I am unsure if it showed up at her door or was picked up in-store, but she didn't find out until she tried to return it instore that it was 3rd party, and then was told she had to email the 3rd party about any return issues rather than Walmart.

      Having looked on Walmart.com in the past and run across items like that, which on first glance appear to be from Walmart, until you skim pre

    • by rwyoder ( 759998 )

      Lowe's online site is a great example. Not only can I tell if an item is available at my local store, they actually give me a map of the local store and tell me exactly where to find what I'm looking for. And every time I go to the site it knows which local store I live near.

      It's the same story with Home Depot. The local one is just a mile from home. I recently learned that they also carry products that are not stocked in the stores, but can be ordered online and delivered to my local store with *no* shipping charges. Their very competitive prices, combined with no shipping costs, make them cheaper than any other source for some items.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:46PM (#55558631)

    Every year we hear the story of the Black Friday Brawl. Every year, it's in the same GD place.

    Walmart.

    "Free can of Pepper Spray for the first 150 shoppers ! "

    I think I'll pass on the in store only sales and just shop somewhere else.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @07:47PM (#55558635)

    Shipping one box of instant macaroni and cheese from Chicago to Atlanta could cost Walmart as much as $10, reports the WSJ.

    From what I've read, Walmart has one of the most efficient shipping infrastructures, so I don't think they'd be that dumb. They would probably ship from someplace local/closer to Atlanta and, therefore, much less expensively.

  • i quit shopping at walmart since i dont want to be the target of a psycho with a gun, i do as much shopping online as possible now
    • Hmmm...well, you'd better not stay in your house then either, because plenty of people get shot in their homes, too. Probably a lot more than get shot in a Walmart.

  • I learn a lot here on /. The last time I heard of Hamburger Helper was 1979.

    Wow, people are buying junk this online for $3.30 and at the store for $2.50.

    God Bless America!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cousin Eddie: I don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself, huh? I like it better than tuna helper myself, don't you, Clark?
      Clark: You're the gourmet around here, Eddie.

      You have just entered The Walmart Zone.

      For the first time in my life, I went into a Walmart last January. Everything that I had ever heard about it... was true. Never again.
      However, I don't order online either. I like to buy Clothes that fit, (30" Waist, 34" Inseam.), and when I buy Electronics or Camer

      • Well, the beef would come from you, it's just the helper. Also the Cheesy Beef Pasta does have Ricotta Cheese, Blue Cheese and Cheddar Cheese, dried as an ingredient along with other cheese enzymes. So for the $2.50 you get the Pasta, the cheese, and the spices. No mixing, it's easy to do, etc.

    • I don't know why they call that stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself. I like it better than tuna helper myself.
  • by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @08:57PM (#55559049) Homepage
    Every single time i go walmart it's a painful experience. The last time I was there, i brought 4 items up to the self check out and, literally, just as I got there, some 300# woman with a mullet waddles off a stool, flips a switch turning off all the self checkouts. not a word, just a glance, then she spun around and limped off towards customer service.
    I left the items on the deactivated conveyor belt and left. Sadly, experiences like this have happened multiple times at various locations
    i will absolutely positively pay more to avoid Walmart.
  • Not that long ago it was cheaper online than in the store. I have four Walmarts near me. Unfortunately, they do not stock the same items. I went online several times to see which store had the item I wanted. When I got to the store, it was more expensive for me to pull it from the shelf and buy it. The last time it happened I stood there in front of the item, got out my phone and bought it from Amazon. They pissed me off enough I could wait the two days for the package to arrive.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 15, 2017 @11:42PM (#55559861)

    Think of all the free publicity Walmart gets when a dozen dime-store duchesses in animal skin prints roll around in the Toy Department throwing punches over the last Tickle Me Roy Boy doll at the Alabama superstore. You simply cannot buy that kind of social media presence!

    And how better to remind "Sales Associates" who's boss than to rip them away from their families on Thanksgiving? They should be thankful for their minimum-wage jobs and quit whining about that family values nonsense.

    Work with me here, people. Get those assless chaps out of the closet, wiggle into that skin-tight XXXXXL spandex shirt that says "My Warm-up Is Your Workout", and head down to Wally World for a Black Friday - Cyber Monday Shop-a-thon!

    Only one week left! It's almost time for really serious bargain hounds to grab the sleeping bags and get in line.

  • and anything that either keeps me from spending an entire afternoon on public transport or taking my life in my hands trying to drive to the store is worth a pretty substantial price premium. The fact that online pricing is usually cheaper is just a bonus.

    The exception is groceries and things like clothing where I might want to check things like fit or color or "feel" before buying. Or things I absolutely need now, like tools or parts or supplies to finish some kind of project that's blocking up my garage

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @02:30AM (#55560437) Journal

    And so... what's keeping me from ordering from a different online service? It sounds like Walmart thinks their only competition is themselves. Let's disabuse them of that.

  • sure, it might cost them $10, but what about the extra cost for us, the customer, for going to a store?
    fuel isn't really cheap these days, and my time is limited and thus expensive as well.
    they will have to increase their prices way more to make it worth while to go to the store and by that point, you will surely find cheaper alternative online shops.

  • I don't do Walmart. Or Facebook. I'll do Amazon and eBay all day long however.
  • If Walmart doesn't want people using their online site, why do they have one?

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

Working...