Walmart sells loss-leader laptops

Catching up on a Retail Wire post from last week, on the subject of Walmart selling opening-price laptops for BTS. Good idea or not? My take:

Walmart stands to benefit from the traffic that $298 laptops can drive. However, as the article points out, they have chasing inventory and run the risk of creating “Black Friday”-style bad feelings among their customers. If they can satisfy demand for opening-price laptops they can also drive a lot of other BTS purchases into shoppers’ carts.

On the other hand, I don’t see Walmart having the “sell-up” ability of a Best Buy. A customer drawn into Best Buy by a sharp opening price is more likely to walk out with a higher priced model and having spent more on peripherals and service plans. This becomes Best Buy’s opportunity to “margin up” on its loss-leader prices, which may be less of a priority for Walmart.

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