Not only do prices at Walmart Supercenters beat out its own Web site, they currently KO Amazon, according to a new study by Kantar Retail’s ShopperScape division -- even before adding in shipping costs.
The market researcher decided to do the cost-analysis study when it realized that for the first time, Walmart shoppers now report that the number one retailer they are most likely to cross-shop is Amazon, Robin Sherk, senior analyst in the company’s Cambridge, Mass. office, tells Marketing Daily, rather than other brick-and-mortar retailers. Viewing it as a kind of e-commerce tipping point, Kantar compared the cost of an identical basket of 36 national brand products in the edible grocery, non-edible grocery, health & beauty aids, and general merchandise categories. (It omitted shipping costs.)
Walmart Supercenter’s overall basket was the least expensive, with Walmart.com’s basket coming in 7% higher, and Amazon’s basket costing 20.5% more.
The easy conclusion, she tells Marketing Daily, is that despite increasing awareness of online shopping options, consumers will continue to seek out the lower prices at Walmart’s physical stores. “Walmart is used to the weekly grocery trip and it is doing a very good job. But as shopping behaviors shift, the price advantage is not so clear.”
Results are less definitive, she adds, when shoppers use Amazon’s automatic stock-up trips, repeatedly purchasing the same SKU, since Amazon offers lower prices on the selected consumables available via its Subscribe & Save program. Specifically, 27% of the products across Amazon’s consumables sub-baskets were eligible for Subscribe & Save. So shoppers who are savvy enough to sniff out savings on specific items, versus an entire basket mission, would find Amazon’s offers better.
And there is an availability issue: The study found that 14% of the items in Walmart.com’s basket and 3% of the items in Supercenter’s basket were out of stock, whereas Amazon’s basket was completely in stock in this study -- even if through its third-party marketplace sellers. In addition, Amazon’s used-product options offered additional savings.
“As shoppers become used to these special offers, traditional retailers like Walmart will need to reconsider their conventional basket approach. At the same time, the evolution in how consumers shop means we need new ways to understand how consumers compare prices and to measure which retailers offer the lowest prices.”