We’ve all done the in-store/Amazon price matching game: perusing the aisles of a nearby retailer and then whipping out our smartphones to see if we can find better online prices at Amazon. Well Target wants everyone to know how to get Amazon prices at Target: just ask. They have announced that they will match prices found on Amazon, all year round. And Target is not stopping with Amazon, they will also price match qualifying merchandise to the prices advertised on the websites of Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Walmart!
If a customer buys a piece of merchandise and then finds it cheaper on any of the aforementioned websites within seven days, Target will match the price. Also, if a customer finds a better price prior to the purchase, say in the store when comparing prices on their smartphones, a price match can be requested at Target’s Guest Services in the store, so long as the customer can show proof of the better price. Currently Best Buy offers price-matching with Amazon through the end of January, with no word on whether it will now be extended beyond the month. Toys ‘R’ Us matches prices for baby supplies sold by Amazon.com, Wal-Mart.com, Sears.com, Target.com, and Kmart.com.
While Wal-Mart matches prices found in printed ads from local retailers, it does not offer price matching for online items, something that they may have to revise if they want to stay competitive. As it stands now, the Wal-Mart stores don’t even match their own online prices, making it likely that consumers may not even be getting the best prices between store and website. But Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wants to make sure that doesn’t happen in their store saying, “Guests can confidently shop at Target every day for the best value in retail.”
But some are quick to point out that this is a desperate measure on the part of the retail giant, because their holiday shopping season slumped compared to years before. Many attribute it to shoppers finding better prices online. Also, given that Target will only price-match identical items that include identical brand name, color, quantity, weight, size and model number, Target may not have to often honor their new policy since many of the items they carry are brands that are exclusive to Target, such as clothing lines, making it unlikely that consumers will find it elsewhere. At the very least, consumers will be able to get price-matching on thousands of personal care, beauty, grocery and household items.
Brick and mortar retailers everywhere are finding slumping sales due to Amazon.com and other online retailers, and while retailers like Target aim to offer competitive prices, they may still be overlooking other reasons that consumers are opting to shop online rather than in the store. Many consumers simply do not want to deal with the crazy crowds that come with holiday shopping. Service may be another issue according to a survey by the Kellogg School of Management which found that 40% of consumers opted for the online route after receiving subpar customer service in the store. So while price-matching is a step in the right direction, they may want to consider revising policies and offering better employee training if they really want to woo back their customer base.
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