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If You Shop at Walmart, Watch Out for These Deceptive New "Deals"

The retailer is trying a new tactic to keep shoppers coming back.

For most shoppers, the convenience of Walmart is enough of a draw to keep them coming back. The retailer's vast inventory makes it easy to get everything from groceries to gardening equipment in one location, usually open at the hours you need them most. But the store's low prices have also made them the popular shopping destination they are today, generally beating out competitors even without a discount or a sale. However, you may want to be on the lookout for an increase in some deceptive "deals" the next time you're shopping in Walmart. Read on to see what the mega-retailer is doing to keep customers coming back.

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Walmart will be adding more "rollback" price signs in their stores amid inflation.

A rollback sale sign in a Walmart store

Shopping at Walmart usually involves finding a reasonable price on whatever you need, even if it isn't on sale. But if you happen to notice more of the store's eye-catching "rollback" signs during your next visit, you're not just catching your location on a lucky day. According to executives, the deals are helping to create a feeling for customers that prices in the store are still low, affordable, and manageable amid the record-high inflation that has sent price tags soaring at other retailers, CNN reports.

"We use rollbacks to communicate not only the reality of prices are coming down at some places, but the emotion or perception we want customers to have about us," Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, told analysts during a post-earnings conference call.

Rollbacks can be a powerful marketing tool for Walmart, even as other prices rise.

the checkout area of a walmart store

Part of the mega-retailers latest strategy comes from its long-running practice known as everyday low prices (EDLP), CNN reports. The tactic relies on using permanently discounted items to win over customers and keep them coming back instead of coupons or flash sales seen at other stores.

Now, Walmart is using rollbacks as a marketing tool as a way to make customers feel good as prices on everyday essentials such as gas and groceries increase around them. And even though Walmart itself hasn't been immune to increased prices, they've been rising more slowly than at other major retailers, CNN reports.

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Walmart has increased the number of rollback deals posted in its stores in recent months.

The exterior of a Walmart store

In the company's latest earnings call on Feb. 17, the retailer revealed that it was offering more deals on items this quarter than in the previous one, admitting there were plans to add even more. "We're also seeing the opportunity to increase some of our rollbacks in stores," John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said before adding that products in dry groceries and electronics were seeing lowered prices in many stores. "And we're really proud of the team."

Experts argue that the perception of lower prices in one area can help soften the blow of rising costs elsewhere, which could drive customers to shop elsewhere cut back on spending entirely, CNN reports. But the company says it's no stranger to handling inflation.

"During periods of inflation like this, middle-income families, lower-middle-income families, even wealthier families become more price sensitive. And that's to our advantage," McMillon said during the call. "So we've been through this before. And we run with inflation around the world all the time. Inflation is a different environment in the U.S. right now than it has been in recent times for sure, but we've been dealing with inflation in South America and Mexico and other places."

There are still some products you should never buy at Walmart, according to experts.

People exit the Walmart store on December 24, 2020 in Valley Stream, NY.

However, just because Walmart relies on keeping prices low without the need for a sale doesn't mean it's always your best option for shopping. Experts warn that you can get a better deal on certain products elsewhere, especially on items such as large appliances, furniture, TVs, electronics, and smartphones. In most cases, the store's lower prices result from more inferior quality products being offered, and it can be better to head to a specialty store or shop online for a better deal.

And it's not just larger purchases that you should avoid at Walmart: Everyday buys like organic produce and dairy products are often not the best deal around. "They may seem like a good price, but you can find a better price at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club, or even at your local grocery store when there's a sale," Gina Zakaria, the blogger behind the budget blog Saving Whiz, recently told Best Life.

RELATED: Walmart Is Making This Major Change for Shoppers, Starting This Month.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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