I’ve been a member of Ibotta since the start. I’ve seen every rebate app created go through the same patterns. Ibotta seems to have avoided the usual death of rebate apps, but one thing I have been tracking for 2-3 years now is Walmart’s response to rebate apps and coupons. About 18 months ago, I started to notice and track specific items at Walmart being raised in price. At first I thought it was just coincidental, however, it didn’t take long to see that price hikes were comparable to Ibotta rebate amounts for that item. Over a year, I started to chart high rebates on Ibotta and other apps as well as the price increases. Each time the increase corresponded to the rebate, it’s time period, as well as paper coupons issued. It was pretty clear the Walmart raised the prices in relation to coupons available. Once the coupons expired, the prices were adjusted. More recently, every free after purchase item listed on Ibotta has been removed from the shelves and on their app. I find it hard to believe that not one free item on the app is just magically gone from every Walmart in a 65mile radius of my location. Interestingly enough, they find their way back approximately 6 weeks after the rebate. If they don’t, I assume that they are going to be offered again on the app. Sure enough that is the case. I’m just really fed up with being mislead and manipulated by offers that aren’t available. I live close to Flight 93 in a rural area with 1 Walmart and 2Giant Eagles. That’s it so other stores are not an option. The closest Target is 60+ miles away so when Walmart pulls this strategy I just want to let my cart in an isle and walk out. Eith Ibotta is manipulating or Walmart is. I’m guessing both at so point. Am I the only person who this is happening to or are there others out there experiencing the same thing? I’d really like to hear for others, because at this point I’m ready to delete my account and move on. I enjoy getting things for less and at first relied on it to make ends meet. I fortunately don’t have to do that anymore. What I do get, is passed on to others that have a need for them, so I’m on the fence about quoting. I just don’t see how Walmart benefits from removing items from shelves. I know some of you are thinking, there just out of stock, nothing more. Not true at all. I have 3 insiders that work for Walmart. All 3 confirm that items are in stock, but not shelved immediately when the shelves are empty. I’ve even been told that after restocking a specific item, he/she was told to remove them. Any info would be appreciated and please be thoughtful if you respond. Not looking to undermine Ibotta or Walmart. Just want some answers.
@Iupbrat You raise a very interesting point. As we know, the purpose of coupons and rebate apps is customer acquisition (as I've said several times in the past). By offering free items and raising prices (or putting them on clearance), they are trying to find a pocket price. That is the price people will pay for their product. Let's take for example RAOS Soup. Even though it is in a glass jar, I would never pay $4.99 (or higher) for a jar/bottle of soup, no matter how good it is. With coupons and Ibotta offers stacked, I was paying .99¢ when it was on sale at Shoprite for $2.99 ($1 paper and $1 Ibotta). My son really likes it so I would pay $1.99 at times as well. Without a coupon and without an Ibotta rebate, I would not buy it. Then the Ibotta offer expired (after I did it 15 times) and low and behold, the $1 coupon became available on coupons.com. Will I continue to buy it, yes but only when it is on sale and when I have a coupon and the price is around $2. So let's see if they lower the pocket price from $4.99 instead of continuing to put it on sale. I saw a similar thing happen with the Brownie brittle - the pocket price has been significantly lower by at least $1 when they had $1 peelies and offers on Ibotta and CoinOut. I see your frustration with WalMart raising prices as in many parts of the country, their aren't many other choices (as in your case). But understand it is not just WalMart who practices price adjustments. Look at Kohl's - they raise and lower their prices based on the sales and KC that they offer. Yes, you can get some great buys, but something that cost $10 one day will cost $20 the next (with a $ off and then KC to **bleep** you back into the store). Look at CVS - their prices are ridiculously high, but with coupons, EB and CRTs, we manage to work the system in our favor. Not everyone is nutso like the rest of us, taking the time to combine all the offers, so I'm sure the companies track who is paying $1 for a products, $2 for a product or $3 for that very same product.
It is possible that all the stores, Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens are in cahoots and secretly manipulate the prices to get us in the stores to buy other items. Wait a minute, isn't that what marketing does?
Have I seen prices go up after a great deal? Yes. Have I seen empty shelves where Ibotta Free After Offer deals should be? Yes.
Personally, I don't think any of these stores really have a clue as to what they are doing. Sometimes it is a hit or a miss.
Example:. Ibotta was offering the Star Wars The Mandalorian cereal for free after offer. Many of us found it, got it for free. Then the price started to drop. The rebate disappeared and I personally saw the price at $1.00 a box. Something was definitely wrong here.
I realize it is frustrating to repeatedly go to the store looking for Mt. Dew No Sugar in the 2L bottles. But the 2L bottles are the cheapest and least profitable size. New flavors always start in the smallest bottles and then the next largest, etc. That just makes sense.
Ibotta is a marketing tool. As paper coupons disappear, a digital way to entice shoppers was created. Ibotta was not the first and won't be the last.
Is Walmart purposely removing Ibotta items from the shelves? Maybe. But it seems foolish. The point is to get people to try it. If it's not on the shelf, then how do you get people to try it?
Could Walmart be trying to throttle demand? Probably. As we all know, Core bars kept coming back in Ibotta and now sales are down. Offering items for free repeatedly seems to defeat the purpose.
In the end, we are all looking for a bargain. The manufacturers and retailers want loyal customers. It is all a game of marketing and we need to know how to play the game.
That is utterly ridiculous. They could just cancel the offering and have ibotta withdraw it. OOS. It happens.
Just to add my 2 cents. Last night there were plenty of empty display boxes on the shelves where the mashed potatoes should be, and only a few "family size". I don't think it is cost effective for EVERY Walmart to pay employees to REMOVE the stock from the shelf and then replace it after an Ibotta offer runs it's course.
Customer acquisition - I'll give it to you free one time, and hopefully you continue to buy the product.
The empty display boxes on the shelf said to me that there are Ibotta shoppers in my store and they were bought (not removed).
Yeay, but that is what they want you to think.
See, if they leave the boxes, it changes the narrative.
There are close to 5,000 Walmart stores in the US. I am amazed they have as much in stock as they do. If each store gets 100 of something, that is 500,000 of the item that need to go out for these giveaways.
Last year, ibotta gave away over 3 million Thanksgiving dinners. Let that sink in - 3.15 million.
So WM would need to churn this for 6 weeks to have enough for everyone, and that is if users were equally distributed, which they are not.
@Rickibotta I agree - and let's not forget the back to school promo too.
But for the "average shopper" they go into a store, may use a coupon or 2 or a rebate app for an offer and still walk out spending $50-$100 let's say. As compared to the IBOTTA SHOPPERS like us who shop PRIMARILY for the deals.
Walmart wants the shoppers in the store spending money, that's endgame above and beyond all else. They got free potatoes (but they spend $75 to do so).