Walmart Is Getting Rid of This for Shoppers, Leaked Memo Reveals
This major change might upset some of the retailer's most loyal customers.
With a low-price guarantee that applies to locations in all 50 states, it's no surprise that Walmart sees millions of shoppers visit its stores daily. The mega-retailer serves at the go-to shopping destination for Americans across the country, providing everything from groceries to home goods. But given that it's such a shopping institution, Walmart sometimes makes changes that show it's not afraid to ruffle some feathers every now and then. Now, a newly leaked company memo has revealed that the big-box retailer is gearing up to institute a new policy that may upset some of its most loyal customers. Read on to find out what Walmart is getting rid of for shoppers soon.
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Walmart offers millions of different products for same-day pickup or delivery.
Nowadays, you no longer have to shop at a physical location to be considered a frequent Walmart shopper. The retailer now allows customers to purchase products online for same-day pickup or delivery. In 2020, the COVID pandemic greatly increased demand for this service, and the retailer rebranded it as Walmart Online Pickup and Delivery (OPD), according to Harvest Group. At this point, Walmart offers shoppers the option of using the OPD service to order millions of different products online for store pickup or delivery, including groceries, electronics, clothing, and décor.
If you use this service to shop, however, you'll want to be aware of an imminent change.
Shoppers have not had to pay extra for substitutions.
After you place an online order using the OPD service, an in-store Walmart associate will gather your items and place them in bags before they are either set aside for pickup or sent off with delivery drivers. For many, the convenience of not having to fight crowds or wait in checkout lines is enough of a selling point for the service. But some shoppers have clung to a separate perk.
When an item you ordered is out of stock or unavailable, Walmart will send you an email offering you a similar item as a substitution, per the retailer's website. You can choose to accept, decline, or return it, but here's where shoppers have been lucking out: If the substitution Walmart offers is more expensive and you accept it, you're still charged the lower price for the product you originally ordered, according to Insider.
Walmart is getting rid of this perk soon.
This price-match substitution perk won't be sticking around, however. On Sept. 12, Insider reported that a leaked company memo sent to Walmart store managers last week indicated that this policy will be changing in the coming weeks. According to the news outlet, the update will force some shoppers to spend more on substitutions they receive through online pickup and delivery orders.
"Moving forward, customers will now pay the list price for specific substitution items made on their order," the internal memo reads, per Insider. "Customers and members will receive updates about this change in the Walmart app at various points in their shopping experience."
The company says the new policy matches what other retailers have been doing.
Many of Walmart's competitors—including Instacart and Whole Foods—have been requiring customers to pay list prices for more expensive substitutions included in their online orders, according to Insider. The only "notable exception" is Kroger, which still states the following in its terms and conditions for pickup and delivery: "If you accept the substitution, you will be charged the lower of the price of the item you ordered or the price of the substituted item. Substitutions will not increase the cost of your order."
In a statement to Best Life, Walmart confirmed the change, and that it's in line with what its competitors have been doing. "As we continue to expand our popular online pickup and delivery service, we're giving our customers more control of how and when items are substituted, including enhanced preferences and the ability to approve or reject substituted items," a spokesperson for the company said. "This flexibility is an important part of how we continue to give our customers more control over their pickup and delivery experience. In addition, we've made the decision to start charging for any item substitutions within these orders—a standard practice in the industry."