Walmart to replace price labels with digital screens, assures no surge pricing

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Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, announced plans to replace traditional sticker price tags with digital shelf labels (DSLs) across its 2,300 stores by 2026. This transition aims to enhance efficiency and improve the customer experience, though it has raised questions about potential surge pricing.

Enhancing efficiency and customer service

With over 120,000 products in each store, updating prices manually is a significant task for Walmart employees. Daniela Boscan, a team lead at a Walmart store in Texas, highlighted the benefits of the new system, stating, “A price change that used to take an associate two days to update now takes only minutes with the new DSL system. This efficiency means we can spend more time assisting customers and less time on repetitive tasks.”

Addressing concerns over surge pricing

Despite the advantages, the introduction of DSLs has prompted concerns about the potential for surge pricing, a practice where prices fluctuate based on demand. This concern is particularly relevant given the recent backlash against other companies, such as Wendy’s, for similar practices.

However, Walmart firmly denies any plans to implement surge pricing. Cristina Rodrigues, a Walmart spokesperson, emphasized that the DSL program is not designed for dynamic pricing. “Walmart adheres to everyday low prices,” she stated, clarifying that the technology is intended to simplify the process of updating prices for new products and sale items, not to exploit demand fluctuations.

Greg Cathey, Walmart’s senior vice president of transformation and innovation, reiterated this point, ensuring that price changes would not occur frequently or erratically. “It is absolutely not going to be ‘One hour it is this price and the next hour it is not,’” he told Reuters.

Looking ahead

As Walmart rolls out this technology, the focus remains on enhancing operational efficiency and maintaining customer trust. The DSL system represents a significant step forward in retail technology, promising a smoother shopping experience without compromising Walmart’s commitment to everyday low prices.

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