Walmart has previously tried a variety of other ways to capture more sales data linked to individual customers, from its Walmart Pay wallet to branded credit cards to the discontinued Savings Catcher competitive price matching program. It also launched a deal with Ibotta last year allowing Walmart purchases and offers on them to generate rewards when shoppers scan their receipts that go into a wallet alongside those from purchases at other retailers.
Ibotta and Walmart Global Tech are handling the technology behind Walmart Rewards. Similar to the closed-loop cashback system Ibotta powers for Kroger Co. as part of its loyalty program, the white-labeled Walmart program will generate rebates that can only be used on future Walmart purchases, said Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta.
120 million 'digitally engaged' Walmart shoppers
People who’ve never signed up for Ibotta accounts can still use Walmart Rewards, Leach said. Only about 4 million to 5 million people now are using their Ibotta for Walmart purchases, he said, “though they’re spending billions of dollars a year.” But the Walmart Rewards program could help reach 120 million digitally engaged Walmart shoppers and the 150 million people who shop at Walmart weekly.
“We don’t know what percentage of that 120 million will begin using a rewards program,” Leach said. “However, a very high percentage of other retailers’ digitally engaged shoppers are active in their rewards programs.”
He cited Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway and Target, with its Target Circle program, as “getting very high percentages of their total addressable digital audience to engage in rewards, and we’re hoping to exceed those percentages” with Walmart.