There was a time when my mom’s Saturday morning would consist of looking at all of the grocery flyers to find the best prices on specific items she wanted and than visiting 3 to 4 of these retailers to collect her purchases. The process would literally take her hours, not to mention all the gas she used travelling to each destination. She loved it and even bragged about it saying that she always got the best price. And then it happened. My mother discovered ‘Price Matching’ and her whole shopping process changed. Instead of spending hours and wasting gas, she now only goes to one grocer and says one beautiful phrase that has not only empowered her but also annoys those behind her waiting in line, “Price match please”.
Price matching has been an emerging retail tactic that has begun to move front and center for many retailers due to the rise in ecommerce. More and more people are buying online because sometimes the price and assortment are just better. Customers are realizing that sometimes the virtual store online is better than the brick-and-mortar counterpart, giving rise to the behavior called ‘showrooming’.
Showrooming is the act of going into a physical retail store to see an item you are interested in but than going online to purchase it at a cheaper price. To fight against showrooming, retailers are instituting new price matching policies that now include prices on online items. The most publicized retailer that has taken this strategy is Best Buy and more and more are jumping on-board this holiday season like Target and Wal-Mart. The rise of Amazon and online shopping is only continuing to rise and retailers really need to present a better value proposition if they want to increase their close rates within the physical store environment. Whether it be improving their customer experience, offering knowledgeable staff or even throwing in something extra that customers would have never received online, retailers can fight against showrooming if they choose to.
This holiday season is really shaping up to be a battle in the retail environment and it will be interesting to see how many people decide to avoid the mad rush, aggressive shoppers and packed parking lots for a pleasant experience online in the comfort of their own home. Whatever side you are on, price matching and showrooming only create a better shopping experience for the customer as I found out myself.
Last month I needed to buy Microsoft Office for Mac and decided to test Best Buy and their Price Match policy. I went in, requested the product and before she rung it in I said, “Wait, Amazon.ca is selling this for less.” She said “No problem sir, I’ll adjust the price.” I smiled and felt proud of myself. I guess this is what my mom feels like every Saturday morning.