App Review: Like the Store Itself, Walmart’s App is a One-Stop Shop
First off, I don’t frequent Walmart very often. This is mainly because the chain is actually pretty sparsely located around Los Angeles. However I’ve recently found myself interested in their proprietary mobile payment solution cleverly dubbed Walmart Pay, which recently rolled out nationwide. As a result I decided to download the retail giant’s app, head to their recently-opened Supercenter in Burbank, California and see how it all worked.
Before I made it to the store I was intrigued by another feature on the app: Savings Catcher. This function promises to give shoppers the best prices on the items they purchase by automatically crediting them the difference if the app finds a competitor offering a better deal. All users have to do is scan their Walmart receipt within seven days of their purchase and wait for the results. To my surprise in reading the fine print, if you used a 50 cents off coupon for an item that was $3 (so you paid $2.50) at Walmart but the Savings Catcher found the same item for $2 elsewhere, they would still credit you the full $1 difference even though you used a coupon. Say what you will about the company, but that’s a pretty generous perk.
One thing you will need to do before heading to the store is set up a Walmart Pay account. This involved adding my debit card (or whatever card I wanted to charge for my transaction) and some other basic info. Additionally I learned that you could use a Walmart gift card balance, including your Saving Catcher funds with Walmart Pay.
The big sell on Walmart Pay is that it helps speed up transactions at the register. This is important. In my experience Walmart is always packed and the checkout lines are typically long. I decided to visit a cashier just in case the self-service lanes didn’t accept Walmart Pay, although I learned later that they do. As the cashier was ringing up my items I was able to load the app and scan a QR code that displayed on the credit card terminal. After a couple of seconds not only did the app tell me I was connected but the display also said my name on it just in case there was any doubt.
As soon as the cashier was done ringing in my items she hit a button and that was it. One quirk that I took as a benefit but others might not was that Walmart Pay transactions only result in a digital receipt accessible through the app and not a traditional paper print out. However this was even more convenient when it came time to submit for the Savings Catcher, as it prompted me to send it in with just a tap.
Since I didn’t purchase many items I didn’t have very high hopes for getting any money back from Savings Catcher. However a couple of days after submitting my receipt I was surprised to find a credit for 57 cents in my Savings Catcher account. As it turns out the 12-pack of Coke I purchased was cheaper at the Ralph’s down the road and so, as promised, I was given the difference. The app then gave me the option to either cash out that half-dollar now or let it accumulate before requesting my digital gift card.
In my opinion not only did Walmart Pay meets its goal of creating a faster transaction — especially compared to EMV chip cards — but also one-upped other mobile payment options by including a loyalty component. Although it’s not a traditional loyalty program (i.e. you don’t earn points or free items directly), I could see the Savings Catcher convincing a lot of people to simply shop at Walmart instead of making multiple stops in search of savings. Similarly I should mention that the Walmart app also allows you to buy items online or search for them in store, making it a truly multi-faceted platform. Overall I’d say both the app and Walmart Pay are innovative steps forward that promise much more down the road.