Put it on price
To:Brew Readers
Retail Brew // Morning Brew // Update
Walmart’s digital shelf labels.
June 20, 2024

Retail Brew

Vibes

It’s Thursday, and the fast food price war is heating up. As it prepares to launch a $5 value meal later this month, McDonald’s US President Joe Erlinger told Bloomberg News that the company is “committed to winning the value war.” But as competitors launch their own price cuts and promotions, will this kind of tough talk continue?

In today’s edition:

—Alex Vuocolo, Katie Hicks

STORES

Put that idea on the shelf

Walmart prices Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images

The humble price sticker may be on its way out at the country’s biggest retailer.

Walmart last week announced plans to adopt “digital shelf labels,” or DSLs, at 2,300 stores—which is around half of its US footprint—by 2026, according to Reuters. The upside, according to the retail giant, is that store employees will now be able to update prices within minutes, speeding up a process that used to take two days and giving them more time to assist customers in other ways.

This may sound like a recipe for embracing dynamic pricing, which is the practice of adjusting prices in real-time, but Walmart stressed that the technology is more about speeding up its existing process for updating tags.

“The DSL program is not designed for dynamic pricing,” Walmart spokesperson Cristina Rodrigues told Retail Brew in a statement. “Walmart adheres to Everyday Low Price. The DSLs make it easier for associates to add pricing on shelves for new products, and update pricing related to planned Rollback and Final Clearance products.”

This isn’t the first time that Walmart has been unequivocal about its stance on dynamic pricing.

Keep reading here.—AV

   

PRESENTED BY VIBES

Go on and text ’em

Vibes

Looking for new ways to get your customers to checkout? Catch ’em on SMS. In research conducted by Vibes, 75% of consumers said text messages from their fave brands routinely drive them to purchase.

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  • 25% lower SMS subscriber churn than those using competitive platforms

Get your copy.

RETAIL

The normie economy

Hand holding luxury shopping bags Freshsplash/Getty Images

Retail sales were below expectations in May, ticking up just 0.1% from the previous month and 2.3% from the year before, according to the latest Census data.

A research note from JPMorgan analysts said that “overall, May was yet another weak month for retailers driven by choppier weather and increasingly cautious consumer sentiment. Indeed, 5/10 categories decelerated on a YoY basis vs. April with the exceptions being autoparts, nonstore, and sporting goods.”

Categories that saw a slowdown last month included furniture, building supplies, and restaurants.

Some economists, however, see the numbers as a blip on the path to normalization in the wake of the pandemic.

Keep reading here.—AV

   

MARKETING

Pride and tested

Volume meter increasing and decreasing with LGBTQ+ flag colors Francis Scialabba

If you think corporate participation in Pride Month has felt more subdued this year, it’s not just you.

Brands that were more outspoken in previous years have been quieter in 2024 around their support of LGBTQ+ causes and customers, which some have suggested could be due to fears stemming from last year’s Bud Light backlash and other targeted, right-wing campaigns against companies supporting LGBTQ+ rights.

Target, which also faced right-wing backlash over its Pride merch collection last year, scaled back its offerings this year. Skittles, which faced threats of a boycott over its Pride marketing in 2023, is doing a Pride campaign that’s been characterized as more muted than in years past. Kayla Castañeda, senior director for crisis and issues communications at Target, shared a statement that the company is “committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round.” Skittles did not respond to Marketing Brew’s request for comment.

Keep reading here on Marketing Brew.—KH

   

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VIRTUAL EVENT

Ditching cookies, finding solutions

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SWAPPING SKUS

Today’s top retail reads.

The Netflix retail experience: The streaming giant said it plans to open two retail complexes in 2025 in Texas and Pennsylvania that will sell merchandise based on its programming. (Los Angeles Times)

Paper packaging: Amazon is phasing out plastic air pillows in its packaging, replacing it with recycled paper. (the Associated Press)

Investing in AI: PayPal hired a top executive from Walmart to lead its push into AI-powered payments. (Reuters)

You heard it here first: Vibes found that 75% of consumers say text messages from brands drive them to purchase. Learn how to build a solid SMS subscriber list with Vibes’ new guide. Download here.*

*A message from our sponsor.

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