Covered by Bloomberg earlier today, Target announced plans to price match a collection of online retailers between November 1 and December 16. Following Best Buy’s lead, all brick and mortar Target stores will match prices for products found on Amazon as well as the Web storefronts for Best Buy, Walmart, Toys R Us and Babies R Us. In the past, retailers like Best Buy and Target have typically price matched deals that can be purchased at local competitors, but it’s difficult to price match online retailers due to rapidly changing prices as well as significant discounts.
Target is testing this new policy in order to put a stop to a trend called showrooming. For instance, a consumer can go to a local Target store to check out the picture quality of a specific television set before returning home to purchase the exact same model through an online retailer like Amazon.
Even quicker, consumers can make the purchase through their mobile phones while visiting big box retail stores to demo specific products. When combined with free shipping and the absence of sales tax, this can be a particularly advantageous method of shopping to price conscious consumers.
Target does have a couple stipulations when it comes to price matching Amazon. Target will not honor the price of a third-party retailer that lists their products on Amazon. In addition, anyone that wants to price match a specific item will have to visit the guest services area to obtain the same price for an Amazon product.
However, the price matching policy is slightly different for products listed on Target.com. If the customer purchases an item at a Target store between November 1 to December 24 and spots a lower price on Target.com, they will be able to visit their local store for a price adjustment. In addition, they will be offered an additional thirty days to return the product if the purchase is made with a Target-branded credit card.
In addition to the aggressive price matching policy during the holiday shopping season, Target is also rolling out QR codes in stores to help people shop online. If a Target store is out of a particular toy, parents will be able to scan the QR code on the tag and immediately make a purchase through Target.com in order to acquire the product. This could be extremely helpful for avoiding waiting in a long line to checkout during the holiday shopping season.
In addition to in-store tags, customers will be able to scan the QR codes during commercials, print advertisements included within magazines and newspapers as well as advertisements along public transportation routes. If a Target customer doesn’t own a smartphone, they will be able to send a text message to start the process.
Also catering to consumers that shop on smartphones, Target plans to roll out Wi-Fi within brick and mortar stores in order to help people speed up the purchase process. Stores will also encourage customers to utilize Target’s mobile application for both iOS and Android smartphones as well as utilize mobile coupons when checking out at the register.