Blog | 16 October, 2017

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Walmart’s new grocery pickup service – great for convenience, not so perfect for promotions

In the US Walmart has launched a new free online grocery pickup service. Shoppers make their grocery list at home, send it to Walmart, drive to the store at their convenience, and have their groceries loaded into their car without even having to get out. For UK shoppers this sounds like a dream compared to their current shopping habits. If consumers aren’t going online for their groceries, the alternative is to head to the nearest supermarket, find a decent parking spot, wander the aisles looking for everything on the list and then carry heavy bags back to your vehicle.

There is however one drawback. Shoppers wanting to make the most of this convenient new service are unable to use coupons. Not so convenient perhaps?

Unlike many grocery delivery services which charge delivery or subscription fees, ordering online and picking up groceries is more economical. The minimum order in most of Walmart’s stores is just $30, with no service fee. Customers make their selections online and prepay with a credit card.

And therein lies the problem when it comes to coupons– if you’re paying for your groceries before you even get to the store, and employees have everything bagged up for you when you arrive, there’s no opportunity to scan coupons or ask for any price adjustments. So the listed prices are the prices you pay.

Many of Walmart’s customers say that’s a problem. In a newly-released report, the retail research company Field Agent revealed results from a survey of 500 shoppers who had used Walmart’s online grocery pickup service. The number-one reason that shoppers said they might be less likely to use Walmart’s grocery pickup service in the future, was the inability to use coupons. This was cited by 59% of those surveyed, well ahead of the 46% who cited the standard main concern of online grocery shoppers – the inability to see, touch, smell or pick out their own goods. Altogether, a whopping 91% said the ability to use coupons, or to take advantage of other in-store discounts, was either “very” or “extremely” important to them.

Here’s where digital coupons come in. Although Walmart doesn’t yet offer them, the combination of online grocery pickup and digital coupons is the perfect recipe for a time-starved shopper.