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Walmart Tests New Pricing Strategy to Boost Online Margins, In-Store Sales

Walmart is testing a pricing strategy to boost margins for online purchases and drive in-store sales, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The big-box retailer is selling products online at slightly higher prices than the same product in its stores as a way to compete with online retailer Amazon, the Journal reports. This method isn’t new; according to the Journal, bulk retailer Costco also lists items online at higher prices than customers may find in the store.

“But the move is unusual for Walmart, which has long honed an ‘everyday low price’ message and ahas worked to keep online prices at least as low as shoppers find in its 4,700 stores,” the Journal reports.

The newspaper says that Walmart is testing the new pricing system as a way to offset the cost of shipping large items. Customers who choose to pick up their purchases in a Walmart store instead of having them shipped to their homes will pay the in-store price, a Walmart spokesperson says in the article.

In its third-quarter financial report released Nov. 16, the retailer showed a 50 percent increase in online sales. Walmart has been expanding its e-commerce capabilities throughout the last year, with its purchase of online retailer Jet.com last fall and its investment in e-commerce startup company Store No. 8 earlier this year. 

The retailer also recently purchased the delivery logistics startup Parcel as a way for the company to offer same-day delivery.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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