Target extends price-matching online; others could follow
NEW YORK — Target Corp. is pledging to match prices of select online rivals year-round, a move that underscores how physical and online retailing are being meshed together.
Matching online prices is rare but expected to become more common as shoppers move increasingly online. Target, the nation's second-largest discounter behind Wal-Mart, said it will match prices that customers find on identical products at top online retailers, all the time. The online list includes Amazon.com as well as the websites of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Babies R Us.
Target's move follows a similar holiday price match that began Nov. 1 and ended Dec. 16. Target is making permanent its holiday offer of matching prices of items found at its stores with those on its website. And for the first time it will include products that are out of stock on Target.com.
The moves follow a disappointing holiday shopping season for the Minneapolis-based retailer, hurt by stiffer competition from online rivals and stores such as Wal-Mart that have hammered its low prices. It's the latest step from brick-and-mortar stores to combat “showrooming” — a growing trend for customers to browse stores to check out products and then go online to buy the same products for less.
Mark Schindele, Target senior vice president of merchandising operations, noted the discounter monitors prices of 30,000 items, and thousands more online, to make sure it's competitive. But Target says it had to do more to give shoppers more confidence.
“We believe that our prices are competitive year-round,” Schindele said in an interview. “We also know that our guests shop in many ways.”
Many major stores have offered price-matching guarantees for competitors' brick-and-mortar stores, but it wasn't until this past holiday season that the focus was on matching online prices. Analysts believe that the trend will increase as stores are realizing they need to wake up to the increasing shift among consumers to online, which accounted for about 10 percent of holiday sales.
this past season. Still, such policies can be difficult in practice, because online prices tend to be lower and fluctuate often.
Best Buy is matching prices with 20 online retailers on electronics and appliances at its physical stores through Jan. 31. Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter would not say whether it would make that plan permanent.
Since last summer, Toys R Us has been matching online prices for all identical items or models of baby gear from selected national competitors. Like Target's policy, it excludes Amazon's third-party Marketplace items.
Wal-Mart has trumpeted its low price message but stopped short of matching prices with online rivals. The Bentonville, Ark., retailer said it can monitor prices across the Web every 20 minutes. That knowledge has helped the discounter better react to the competition's price changes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cost-cutting at Kraft Heinz extends to refrigerator
- Kennametal expects to consolidate plants as it shrinks manufacturing in continuing streamlining; profit drops
- Invasive beetle costs Pittsburgh-area power companies plenty
- GNC to convert more stores to franchises as sales, profits slip
- Muni bond funds stressed
- U.S. asks Supreme Court to reinstate convictions of portfolio managers who won on appeal
- Home rental prices jumped again in June
- Range Resources cuts workforce 11%
- PPG puts brand 1st in strategy to reach commercial paint market
- Economy’s 2Q best since last year
- Facebook ready to test giant drone