Walmart has a lot to offer frugal consumers. The very low prices, enormous selection of merchandise, full-service grocery section, pharmacy and health clinics, photo developing, price-match guarantee, and free shipping of online purchases to a store earn this discount retailer the top perch in our three-way competition. The virtual shopping cart we filled for our Walmart review comprised 30 items that came to $1,776.15, $90 less than the final bill at Target and $317 less than the total at Kmart. According to an informal poll of shoppers and reviews we found online, value and convenience draw in the crowds. Walmart stores are one-stop shopping meccas and customers are thrilled by what they regard as a high quality-to-price ratio, especially on in-house brands. An expert affirms that cheap prices are the lure and notes that Walmart partisans seem relatively indifferent to fashion trends, preferring the basics that fill the aisles. Still, Walmart has invested in an image upgrade in recent years to better compete with Target.
During our visit to a Walmart Supercenter, we found the store to be clean, well laid out, loaded with inventory, and staffed by friendly, helpful employees. That said, Walmart reviews include a fair number of negative comments about the discount retailer. Many stem from perceived cleanliness problems. For example, one customer told us she has seen numerous dogs in peoples' shopping carts, another said spilled milk in an aisle looked as though it had been there a while, and a third reported that a diaper malfunction was left on the floor. Others expressed discomfort with the stores' overwhelming size, bustling crowds, and long lines at checkout. Given Walmart's undisputed success, these reviews are clearly minority reports.
The bottom line: It's hard to beat Walmart. Although Target is inching ever closer, Walmart still dominates on price, number of locations, and assortment of products and services. These are the primary considerations for many consumers and earn this retailer a whole lot of their shopping dollars.