Best Buy Says It Will Match Online Prices This Holiday Season

Best Buy has been struggling in recent years as consumers have increasingly looked to the Internet for their gadget shopping needs. It’s quickly gaining a reputation of being a place where people “try before they go home and buy online” (known as “showrooming“) If you’ve been using the store as your personal camera showroom and are in the market for a new camera, you might want to bring your wallet the next time you visit: Best Buy is planning to extend its price match policies to online retailers this holiday season.

Yes, “online retailers” includes Amazon, the 800lb gorilla of online shopping.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the electronics chain will also be offering free home delivery for out-of-stock items.

Research on showrooming suggests that while only a fraction of shoppers use mobile phones in stores to compare prices, many do go home and check what competitors are charging online. A survey […] found that in the prior 12 months, 33% of respondents— and 43% of electronics buyers— bought something online after checking it out in a store first […]

Best Buy estimates the percentage of customers who come into a Best Buy to test products they plan to buy on the Internet is in the mid teens, and has increased about three percentage points in the last two years.

Moreover, Best Buy believes that one in five showrooming shoppers winds up making the purchase in the store—a number that may increase as more states narrow Amazon’s price advantage by requiring it to collect sales tax.

The fact that shoppers can hold a camera or piece of gear in their hands before buying it is a huge advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over online retailers. With Amazon now collecting sales tax in more states and Best Buy planning to match Amazon prices, the gap between online and offline shopping appears to be shrinking instead of growing.

Image credit: Best Buy Digital Cameras by kalebdf

  • Greg Schmidt

    There are still lots of places on line that you can buy from and don’t charge tax. If Best Buy can match those, then I would buy from them, again. Until then, i will keep using BB as a “showrooming” destination.

  • J. G. R.

    My local BB is small and doesn’t ever seem to have the cameras or equipment I want to see! Other larger BB’s I visited this past summer looked empty, looking like they were going out of business soon.

  • Mansgame

    That’s not that big of a problem anymore since Nikon’s heavy handed tactics of telling retailers how much to charge. It used to be that Amazon could use its volume selling and lower overhead costs and offer lower prices – often much cheaper than what Nikon charged on its own website. The only rule was you had to add it to the cart to see the price as they couldn’t advertise it.

    Now if you look, the prices for the small camera shop, as long as they’re an authorized dealer is exactly the same as amazon, BH, Adorama, etc. I don’t think it’s really fair to punish all consumers because of the perceived belief that Best Buy is being used as a showroom. I for one had never done that because lets face it, Best Buy usually only carries entry level cameras.

    Best Buy is going down the tubes because of their own doing and lack of service and not because of anything “unfair” that amazon had done. I’m sure Nikon has lost many more sales from amazon than they have gained from their price fixing at local stores. and I still refuse to shop at Best Buy because their entire model is outdated.

    The only benefit some online places have now is they don’t charge sales tax, but amazon is putting a stop to that by having a local presence in many more states like Texas and California.

    I don’t get it. We had a good thing going. Nikon should let retailers charge what they think will make them a profit and it would benefit the end user. Best Buy can go to hell.

  • Jake

    I wonder what people are going to do if all their “showrooming” puts the showrooms out of business and they have nowhere to go to try out products. Read idiotic Amazon reviews and spend a 2 weeks instead of an hour buying, testing, and returning products until they find one they like?

  • Alan Dove

    Best Buy’s problems are self-inflicted. I would probably engage in “showrooming” if I could, but my experience with Best Buy and other big-box stores lately has been that they have crummy selection and service, so I end up shopping online just to find what I want.

  • Mansgame

    I trust the reviews far more than looking at a box in the store or asking the guy in the blue shirt who knows nothing about the product.

  • J. G. R.

    Alan, same here.

  • harumph

    Or wait another year or so for Best Buy Co. to start shuttering all its retail outlets and then you can get your gear at blowout prices. Not that they’ve ever had a well-stocked camera section anyway. They’ll limp through this holiday season and then maybe get through another before they go the way of Circuit City.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    This strategy still won’t work. Why? Sales tax. If I want to buy a new D600, I would have to pay over $200 more to buy it from Best Buy rather than getting it from BH’s web site.

  • Jake

    Me too. That’s why I read the quality reviews online and then try it out for myself. There’s always a benefit to getting my hands on new tech before committing to it, or wasting 5 days in postage hell cause I don’t like the feel or layout of something.

  • Mansgame

    But how can you try out a DVD player, TV, and other things that are not holdable? With cameras, I already know what a D600 and D800 feel like.

  • Jessica

    are they matching american prices, in canada too?