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Best Buy Matching Online Prices

12 Oct, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CE retailer says the move is in part to counter ‘showrooming’ perception

Best Buy Co. Oct. 12 said it has begun matching prices of major online competitors such as Amazon, in addition to offering free home delivery on products unavailable or out of stock in its stores.

The No. 1 consumer electronics retailer is offering the price matching on appliance and electronics hardware products, including audio hardware, video hardware, cameras, camcorders, desktop computers, notebook computers, e-readers, tablets, TVs, MP3 players, handheld gaming devices and consoles, through Dec. 24 with the exception of the Thanksgiving week (including Black Friday) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), a spokesperson confirmed.

The price matching does not include entertainment such as DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies.

Minneapolis, Minn.-based Best Buy will match the new, identical, immediately available, current pre-tax appliance products price of major retailers, including amazon.com, apple.com, bhphotovideo.com, buy.com, circuitcity.com, compusa.com, crutchfield.com, dell.com, hhgregg.com, hp.com, lowes.com, newegg.com, homedepot.com, officemax.com, sears.com, staples.com, target.com, tigerdirect.com and walmart.com.

Best Buy, which has seen three senior executives — including CEO Brian Dunn — depart this year, is under siege from competing e-commerce services and the perception that consumers increasingly use its expansive showrooms to check out products they end up buying elsewhere online.

Indeed, the company said 40% of in-store visits by consumers result in a sale.

“Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for us to increase that close rate,” said spokesperson Amy von Walter.

Meanwhile, Walmart said it will offer one-day shipping for online purchases in some areas. The world’s largest retailer said it expects to generate $9 billion in e-commerce revenue in 2013.

Von Walter said price matching is a way to empower store-based staff and allow them to compete with e-commerce — when the price in question makes sense. Von Walter said that should one of the aforementioned retailers drop the price on a product to a ridiculously low amount, Best Buy would not match it.

“From a consumer perspective, that’s a really important call out,” von Walter said.

She added that the new pricing is a way to turn the table on the perception that Best Buy is displaying merchandise in stores that consumers end up buying online — a strategy known as “showrooming.”

“I think the stories out there have grossly exaggerated the rate at which it is happening,” von Walter said. “We know it’s happening but not nearly at as high a rate as has been talked about.”

The representative said consumer habits now include going back and forth between retail and e-commerce to make purchases. As a result, Best Buy is again enabling consumers to buy online and pick up the items at their local store.

“Of those customers buying online, a huge percentage actually are coming in [to stores] that very same day,” von Walter said, adding that add-on purchases by these consumers include accessories and service warranty programs.

“That ability to meet the customer how they want, when they want and where they want is really a unique asset to Best Buy,” she added.

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