Walmart Slammed by Shoppers Over New Pricing
Some customers are concerned that Walmart may be able to overcharge them.
Walmart has touted its low-price promise for decades now in order to set itself apart from competitors. But while it does offer plenty of bargains, the retailer has faced a number of complaints over pricing in recent years. Now, shoppers are once again calling out Walmart, this time for testing out digital price tags in several of its stores. Read on to find out why shoppers say they're worried about being overcharged.
Walmart is testing out a new pricing method.
Your Walmart store could get an upgrade soon. After conducting an initial pilot test of electronic shelf labels (ESL) at two Arkansas stores near its headquarters in 2019, the retailer has started rolling out this new pricing system to more locations.
SES-imagotag, which specializes in electronic shelf labeling systems, announced in an April 27 press release that it has just entered into a new agreement with Walmart to start deploying digital price tags.
"Changing price shelf labels in stores is time intensive for our associates. We've been testing digital solutions that will help us manage these price changes electronically, allowing associates more time to do what matters most—helping our customers," Bala Prasanna, vice president of Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "We're seeing positive results and are expanding the rollout of these electronic shelf labels."
Hundreds of stores are set to get digital price tags soon.
According to the release, SES-imagotag will be deploying ESL at several hundred Walmart U.S. stores. In its first phase, SES-imagotag will roll out a total of 60 million digital shelf labels to 500 Walmart locations over the next 12 to 18 months. But the company also has the "opportunity to expanded further within Walmart's store fleet," it noted in the release.
Some shoppers are experiencing the new digital pricing firsthand. In a May 1 video posted by TikToker @reallifesarah918, the electronic labels are already on display.
"When you are at one of the first Walmarts to test out digital pricing," Sarah wrote in text overlaying the video. "The store is going from traditional stickers to digital tags that can be updated by a computer system."
But customers are already sharing their concerns.
This change is not sitting well with some shoppers. In fact, many Walmart customers took to the comment section of Sarah's TikTok video to share critiques about the new digital system.
"Now they can easily up the price daily," one user replied.
Another person referenced problems they say other retailers have faced with ESL. "So there's just going to be a bunch of blank ones and error messages everywhere, like at Kohls," they wrote.
But one of the major concerns that many people pointed to is the potential for Walmart to overcharge customers.
"I feel like they're doing this because people have noticed the price is different when they go up to the register and Walmart would have to grant them a refund," one user commented. "This change eliminates that. Now they can up the price easily."
Best Life reached out to Walmart for more information on its digital pricing and customer feedback, and we will update this story with their response.
Walmart has been cited for overcharging customers in the past.
While the idea that digital price tags will lead to overcharging is pure speculation, Walmart has been cited for price disparities in the past.
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) alone has fined the retailer on several occasions for price-scanning errors at stores throughout the state. Back in February, six Walmart locations in North Carolina were discovered to be overcharging customers, resulting in a total penalty of $22,830. And more recently in April, one Walmart Supercenter was fined $3,395 for having different prices on the shelves and at the register.