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.