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Walmart Online vs In-Store Prices: How are they different?

There’s always a debate about Walmart online vs in-store prices among consumers. The price difference and the reason behind it are always surprising for newbies — at least, they were for me.

As consumers increasingly turn to both online and in-store shopping options, understanding Walmart’s pricing strategies across these channels becomes crucial.

Walmart is known for its low prices, huge stock, variety of products, and extensive store network. Since consumers shop both online and in-store, understanding Walmart’s pricing strategies becomes necessary for extreme couponers. And we are going to discuss the topic in detail so that you can better grasp Walmart’s price match policy.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Are Walmart prices the same in store as online?
  2. 2. The story behind Walmart Online vs In-Store Prices
  3. 3. Key Factors That Affect Walmart In-Store vs. Online Prices
    1. 3.1. Operational Costs
    2. 3.2. Competition
    3. 3.3. Inventory Management
    4. 3.4. Price Matching and Adjustments
    5. 3.5. Customer Behavior
    6. 3.6. Exclusive Offers and Discounts
  4. 4. Why do differences in Walmart online vs in-store prices exist?
  5. 5. Does Walmart price match their website?
  6. 6. How can you price match online at Walmart?
  7. 7. Benefits of shopping in-store instead of online at Walmart
    1. 7.1. Immediate Product Access
    2. 7.2. Avoiding Shipping Costs
    3. 7.3. Cash Payment Option
    4. 7.4. Handling Returns Easily
    5. 7.5. In-Store Only Promotions
    6. 7.6. Personal Assistance
    7. 7.7. Using Walmart’s App In-Store
    8. 7.8. Immediate Price Comparisons
    9. 7.9. Experiencing Products Firsthand
  8. 8. The Bottom Line

Are Walmart prices the same in store as online?

No, Walmart prices are not always the same in-store as online prices. There can be variations between the prices of identical products sold in physical stores and those listed on More often, the price difference is due to operational strategies and shipping costs.

Some items may have consistent prices across both platforms, while others can be expensive due to pricing experiments or inventory management.

The story behind Walmart Online vs In-Store Prices

In case you are wondering, this all started back in 2017. The Wall Street Journal shared a report on how Walmart conducted a pricing experiment on its online store.

The experiment involved listing some items, including many food products, at higher prices online than in Walmart’s physical stores. This strategy was part of an effort to make Walmart’s online operations more profitable and to drive more customers into its physical stores.

At first, the strategy was seen as part of Walmart’s broader campaign to try and circumnavigate Amazon’s eCommerce domination. Surprisingly, Walmart’s U.S. online sales grew by 44% in 2017 despite the higher online prices.

Since the experiment was a success, the company is still sticking with it. However, Walmart always tries to mitigate the impact of higher online prices by offering online coupons and discounts. The company also provides incentives for in-store pickups.

Key Factors That Affect Walmart In-Store vs. Online Prices

Walmart’s pricing strategy, both online and in-store, is designed to offer competitive prices to its customers. However, there are notable differences in how prices are set and adjusted in these two shopping environments, influenced by various factors, including operational costs, competition, and customer behavior.

Operational Costs

The operational costs associated with running physical stores and online platforms are significantly different.

In-store prices may include overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and staffing that are not as prevalent online. Conversely, online prices might reflect shipping and handling costs, although Walmart offers free shipping on orders over $35 to mitigate this.


Walmart’s online platform competes directly with other major e-commerce sites like Amazon, often leading to dynamic pricing strategies to offer the best deal. In contrast, in-store prices may be more influenced by local competition from other brick-and-mortar retailers. This competitive landscape can lead to discrepancies between online and in-store prices.

Inventory Management

In-store pricing can also be influenced by the need to manage physical inventory levels. Stores might lower prices to clear out overstock items or seasonal merchandise, a practice less necessary for online sales where warehouse space is more flexible and expansive.

Price Matching and Adjustments

Walmart’s price matching policy allows customers to request a match for a lower price found on at the time of in-store purchase, with certain conditions and limitations.

However, Walmart does not match prices from other retailers or its own online prices that have been reduced after purchase. This policy underscores the distinct nature of pricing strategies across Walmart’s shopping platforms.

Customer Behavior

Online shopping offers customers the ability to easily compare prices and products, pushing Walmart to adjust its online prices more frequently to stay competitive. In-store shopping behavior is influenced by immediate availability and convenience, which can allow for slightly higher prices due to the added value of instant gratification.

Exclusive Offers and Discounts

Walmart Plus members enjoy benefits such as free shipping and special fuel prices, which can make online shopping more appealing and cost-effective for frequent Walmart shoppers. Additionally, online shoppers can access exclusive discounts and clearance items not available in stores.

Why do differences in Walmart online vs in-store prices exist?

The differences in online and in-store pricing at Walmart are a reflection of the distinct challenges and opportunities presented by each sales channel. Online, Walmart competes in a global marketplace against e-commerce giants, necessitating aggressive pricing strategies and dynamic adjustments.

In-store, Walmart must consider the costs of physical operations and local competition, leading to pricing strategies that optimize inventory management and capitalize on the immediacy of consumer purchases.

Does Walmart price match their website?

The good thing is that Walmart allows price matching for items available on their website and in their physical stores. If you find an identical item listed for a lower price on compared to the price in-store, you can request a price match.

However, certain conditions and restrictions may apply, such as

  • Verifying the item’s availability
  • Online or in-store deals
  • Specific promotional events

How can you price match online at Walmart?

You can price match online prices at Walmart stores for eligible items. Here’s how it generally works:

Eligibility: The item you want to price match must be identical to the one listed on This includes factors such as brand, size, color, and model number.

Verification: Before approving a price match, a Walmart associate will verify the online price and confirm that the item is in stock on

Exclusions: Price matching is usually not available for certain promotions, such as Black Friday, Deals for Days, or Cyber Monday deals. Additionally, it may not apply to items sold by third-party sellers on

Geographical Limitations: The Walmart Price Match policy typically applies only to mainland US stores and may not be available in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico locations.

Benefits of shopping in-store instead of online at Walmart

Shopping at Walmart, whether in-store or online, offers various benefits depending on the shopper’s preferences and needs. Here are some specific advantages of choosing to shop in-store at Walmart compared to online shopping:

Immediate Product Access

One of the primary benefits of shopping in-store is the ability to immediately obtain the products you need without waiting for shipping. This is particularly advantageous for urgent purchases or when you need to inspect the quality of items firsthand before buying.

Avoiding Shipping Costs

While Walmart offers free shipping on orders over $35, smaller purchases might incur shipping fees unless you are a Walmart Plus member. Shopping in-store eliminates these costs entirely.

Cash Payment Option

For those who prefer or need to pay with cash, in-store shopping is the only option. This can be crucial for customers who do not have access to credit or prefer not to use digital payment methods.

Handling Returns Easily

Returning items can be more straightforward when you can bring them directly back to the store. This avoids the hassle of packaging the product and arranging for shipping or drop-off for returns.

In-Store Only Promotions

Walmart often runs promotions and clearance sales that are exclusive to their physical stores. These can include significant discounts on a wide range of products, from apparel to electronics, which might not be available online.

Personal Assistance

In-store shopping at Walmart allows for direct interaction with staff who can provide immediate assistance, answer questions, and help find products. This personal touch can enhance the shopping experience, especially for those who value face-to-face interaction or need expert advice.

Using Walmart’s App In-Store

The Walmart app can enhance the in-store shopping experience by providing store maps, real-time price scanning, and the ability to check product availability at your local store. This integration of digital tools can make in-store shopping more efficient.

Immediate Price Comparisons

While online shopping allows for easy price comparisons across different retailers, in-store shopping at Walmart allows customers to compare prices and products across different Walmart sections and brands immediately. This can be particularly useful in categories like electronics and appliances, where seeing the product physically can influence the buying decision.

Experiencing Products Firsthand

In-store shopping provides the opportunity to see, touch, and sometimes try out products before purchasing. This is especially important for items like clothing, where fit and material are crucial, or electronics, where ease of use and features can be assessed in person.

The Bottom Line

As a retailer, Walmart strives to offer low prices both online and in-store. However, the nature of retail and e-commerce means that prices will vary between these platforms. You can get great deals and buy products at lower prices by understanding the factors that influence these differences.

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