Price-matching policies give shoppers a headache
Meeting and beating competitors' prices is becoming widespread. How these deals actually work isn't so clear.
Shoppers at Wal-Mart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, complained that the company's "Price Match Guarantee" is applied "inconsistently" from store to store, according to the news service. Spokeswoman Deisha Galberth Barnett told Bloomberg that the Bentonville, Ark., company doesn't believe it's a "national problem."
Indeed, other retailers such as Toys R Us are running into difficulties with their policies as well. The toy retailer was advised by the industry-backed Advertising Self-Regulatory Council's National Advertising Division to either quit making its price-matching claims or post its limitations, Bloomberg says.
It's easy to understand why, because these programs often contain many caveats. Best Buy's (BBY) program applies to select online merchants and bricks-and-mortar locations in a 25-mile radius of the store where the purchase is made. Others, such as Target (TGT) (pictured) and Sears (SHLD), don't have specific geographic constraints in determining who is a local competitor.
Often, it's the call of the individual store managers and employees if a consumer gets the discount. And when customers don't get satisfaction, they take to the Internet and vent their frustration.
Unfortunately for frustrated shoppers, price-matching is probably here to stay. Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to do it to combat "showrooming," the practice where consumers look at goods in a store only to buy them later on Amazon.com (AMZN) or some other e-commerce site at a lower cost.
In this battle, matching prices without angering consumers is a tactic that retailers still need to master.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
The good news: Bad weather means fewer drivers on the road, and they're going slower than usual. The bad news: It's still dangerous.
- 8 questions to ask before Mom and Dad move in
- High deductibles fuel new worries of Obamacare sticker shock
- How to use your credit card to donate to charity
- Try this instead of raising the minimum wage
- People left $500,000 in coins at airports last year
- How your driving can affect your credit
- Obamacare projected to cost hundreds of billions less
- November jobs report: Winners and losers
- Student loan debt climbs for 5th year in a row
[BRIEFING.COM] With 90 minutes of the session in the rear-view mirror, the major averages have erased the bulk of their losses. In fact, the Nasdaq has retraced its entire opening decline and now trades with a modest gain of 0.1%.
Even though the Nasdaq sports a modest gain, the technology sector trades in-line with the S&P 500, which hovers just below its flat line. Only one other cyclical group-energy-hovers in the red while consumer discretionary, financials, industrials, and ... More
More Market News
Brick and mortar sales might not be booming, but that doesn't tell the whole retail story.