Big box retailer tricks that make you think they offer dollar store bargains

CLEVELAND - Walmart is a worldwide giant, but in the United States there are more Dollar General and Family Dollar stores.

These discount stores are looking more like grocery stores, offering fresh and frozen products. Walmart is firing back with an aggressive ad campaign and tricks to make it look like it offers cheap products.

Before Charlie Oh hits the store, he checks the ads.

"I go on the Internet. I look at Walmart, Target, Marc's and Aldi," Oh said.

Shoppers are shopping around, dividing their lists and buying at stores that offer the best price.

Cleveland state marketing professor Elad Granot, Ph.D. said Walmart is worried.

"Investors have started to pay attention and Walmart is reacting, which is interesting on its own, because Walmart is a giant and giants are not supposed to react to the little players. But, they really are," Granot said.

Walmart has an aggressive ad campaign pushing its low prices on groceries, back to school items, and now cell phones. In July, we crunched the numbers on grocery prices to see if Walmart's really are cheaper . We found coupons really make the difference and the ads don't take that into account.

In three cities, not Cleveland just yet, the retail giant is asking you to take a picture of your receipt from a competitor and send it in. Within 24 to 48 hours, Walmart said it will tell you how much you would have saved shopping their store instead.

Discount stores are a big competitor to Walmart.

"What you are seeing is dollar stores nibbling away at a traditionally Walmart bastion of the market, where they controlled the lower end the low cost side of it," Granot said.

[WEB EXTRA: Find dollar and discount stores in northeast Ohio ]

To make you think Walmart offers cheap prices, you'll find dollar bins spread throughout the store.

Target has them right as you walk in to the store.

Big box stores are trying to stay relevant as consumers shift spending to small box stores for convenience. You won't find long lines and large parking lots at dollar stores. Plus, they're offering more products like fresh groceries.

"The data simply doesn't lie here. There's been an upswing and surge in consumer activity in these retailers the dollar stores, the top three, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down," Granot said.

What do you think about the rise of dollar stores? Are they on your shopping list? Click comment below and let us know what you think.


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