US retailers commit to online price transparency

Date : 18 June 2014

A number of US retailers, including Walmart, Costco and Fresh Direct have committed to displaying unit-pricing information on their websites.

Enabling consumers to make quick price comparisons

Walmart, Costco, Fresh Direct, Walgreens, CVS and Drugstore.com will make this information available on their websites and mobile apps within the next nine months. This will benefit consumers, enabling them to quickly compare the prices of different items, regardless of quantity, manufacturer, packaging size or discounts.

Peapod leading the way

In the US, 19 states and the District of Columbia have some type of unit pricing requirement within physical stores, but prior to this initiative, unit pricing information online was rare. Among large retailers, full availability of unit pricing was limited to online grocer Peapod.

Price transparency aided by online retailing

In the US, the fragmented and regionalised structure of the grocery sector limits price comparisons, however, increased price transparency will be driven by the growth of online retailing. If retailers do not provide this information to consumers directly themselves, there are a number of websites and apps that can provide comparative pricing information. In a significant move for the US market, earlier this month Walmart announced the national roll-out of its ‘Savings Catcher’ program which enables shoppers to compare its prices with those of its competitors for flyer featured products.