June 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Wal-Mart’s price comparison tool goes national

Savings Catcher, which compares prices and refunds customers, has processed nearly 1 million receipts since launching in seven test markets.

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Savings Catcher, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s price comparison and refund tool, will go nationwide this summer, the company announced today. The tool has processed nearly 1 million receipts since it launched in seven test markets earlier this year.

The tool, developed by Wal-Mart’s innovative arm called @WalmartLabs allows consumers to compare prices from their Wal-Mart receipts with the advertised prices at other retailers. If another retailer offered a lower price, Wal-Mart pays the shopper the difference.

Consumers access the tool on a subdomain of Walmart.com or Wal-Mart’s mobile app and enter a number located near the bottom of their receipts along with the date of the shopping trip. The system compares the prices paid for eligible items with the advertised price at other retailers. If another retailer offers a lower price, Wal-Mart issues the consumer an electronic gift card with the difference. The company says the price-comparison process can take up to 72 hours.

The service covers about 80,000 grocery and consumable items today, and will add produce and general merchandise in the next few months, Wal-Mart says. Retailers currently being used for comparison include Aldi, Harris-Teeter, Target Corp. and Walgreen Cos. Savings Catcher currently compares prices just to local bricks-and-mortar stores and not e-retailers, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman says and declined to provide a reason for that decision.

“We are going to win by integrating digital and physical. Savings Catcher and its expanding capabilities are just one example of that,” says Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Wal-Mart U.S. “We are well-positioned to innovate and lead in the tech space, and you’ll see more of this.”

Wal-Mart also plans to offer customers electronic receipts and the option to automatically load their purchases into the Savings Catcher tool and process refunds.

(The July issue of Internet Retailer magazine will feature a survey about e-commerce technology trends. Please click to take part in the short survey.)

Wal-Mart is No. 4 in the newly released 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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