Is Walmart worried?

Walmart continues to up the ante with its series of commercials about it offering low prices. First, it was steaks. Then, groceries and back to school items. Now, it’s cell phones and even a campaign to send in your receipt to see the price differences for yourself.

Business and marketing analysts say Walmart is no longer considered the cheapest retailer, and they’re worried about their stake. It’s an interesting situation for the world’s largest retailer.

Quality is an issue for the retail giant, so they began running ads comparing their steaks to Kansas City steaks. They did a blind taste test to see if people could really tell the difference between a KC steak and a Walmart cut.

Then, they began local ads that compared their grocery prices to the giant in that area. In our case, it was Giant Eagle. While Giant Eagle had the highest prices in a comparison I did for NewsChannel 5, Walmart’s prices were not the cheapest. Also, couponers are loyal to Giant Eagle because they say prices are cheapest when they use coupons and shop the sales. Giant Eagle doubles coupons. Walmart does not.

Now, Giant Eagle is trying to get you thinking about purchasing their $45 a month cell phone plans. It’s working. It got my husband’s attention. He said, “Can you really get a cell phone plan with unlimited everything for $45 a month?” The answer is yes, but how good is the service?  The coverage map shows good coverage for the non-Android market, but far less coverage for the Android market. There’s very little Straight Talk coverage in the western half of the United States.

While the coverage map looks spotty, I talked to an IT professional who uses Straight Talk and loves it. I’ll talk more about that option Thursday.

In select markets, Walmart is now asking you to send in a copy of a competitor’s receipt to see how much you could have saved if you shopped at the retail giant. In  Albuquerque, Atlanta, and Chicago area, you can take a picture of a receipt and within 24 – 48 hrs., Walmart will let you know how much you would have saved if you shopped for similar products at Walmart.

The receipt can’t be more than seven days old. Comparisons will only be for similar grocery, health and wellness, beauty and consumable items.  If you buy private label or items like produce or meats that vary by weight, they will not be included in the comparison.

While Walmart is not including coupons and loyalty cards in their in your face advertising campaign for groceries, loyalty cards and special deals and pricing will be considered in the receipt comparison. Coupons will still not be considered because Walmart says it’s hard to decipher on a receipt if the coupon is a manufacturer or retailer coupon, and receipts don’t always make it clear which item they were used to discount.

The giant retailer is also offering dollar deals to compete with dollar stores. Marketing experts say that’s cutting into their profits as well. Dollar stores are expanding and growing. Some now offer groceries. Walmart wants you to think it offers products at an affordable price.  That’s an interesting move considering quality is something the retailer is trying to stress with its steak commercials.

What do you think about Walmart’s ads and push to sell you on its products and quality? Click comment below.