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Walmart closes in on Amazon in online price war

By comparison, Walmart's online prices were 3 per cent higher than Amazon's on average in the first 350 days ending November 7, 2016, according to the study

Nandita Bose | Reuters 

Wal-Mart previously aimed to keep online and in-store prices equal for many of its most popular products, unless competition drove them lower
Wal-Mart previously aimed to keep online and in-store prices equal for many of its most popular products, unless competition drove them lower

Stores is within striking distance of matching com’s online prices for the first time, a key milestone in its effort to regain the “low price leader” title.

has aggressively invested in making its prices more competitive against brick-and-mortar rivals since the start of the year.

Now, the shrinking gap is also becoming noticeable across a broad range of product categories online, according to a price study conducted for Reuters, as well as interviews with pricing experts, retail consultants, vendors and company sources.

Prices at com are now only 0.3 per cent more expensive than on average, according to the study by retail data analytics firm Market Track, which analysed prices of 213 products in 11 categories over a period of 700 days ending November 7, 2017.

By comparison, Walmart’s online prices were 3 per cent higher than Amazon’s on average in the first 350 days ending November 7, 2016, according to the study.

In the popular wearables category, which includes fitness trackers and smart watches, Walmart’s prices are 6.4 per cent lower than this year compared to 12.6 per cent higher in the same period a year ago. For sports and outdoor products, is now 1.3 per cent lower versus 3.5 per cent higher a year ago.

These findings indicate that has managed to slash prices online across several product categories consistently, rather than with just temporary discounts.

Consistent lower pricing is key to boosting sales throughout the year. On Cyber Monday, the busiest day of the year for internet shopping, online deals and temporary promotions will overshadow pricing for both retail giants.

“We are committed to having online prices that meet or beat prices at other top sites,” said spokesman Dan Toporek. He said for some items the retailer now displays two prices online to show shoppers when they can get a lower price by picking up their order in a store, but declined to comment further on the company’s pricing strategy.

spokeswoman said nothing has changed in the retailer’s approach to delivering low prices to customers.

“Amazon’s prices are as low or lower than any other retailer and we work hard for customers to ensure that’s true every day,” she said, declining to comment further on the retailer’s pricing strategy.

The consistent price cuts are one of several steps is taking to boost its e-commerce business, including expanding its online offerings, acquiring smaller online retailers such as Jet.com, and offering free-two day shipping.

Burt Flickinger, managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resources Group, conducted his own internal pricing study for clients in Texas last month.

First Published: Tue, November 28 2017. 02:48 IST
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