Price Matching & the Mobile Shopper

The bar for retailers to play in the mobile space to combat showrooming keeps getting higher.

Best Buy’s decision to finally match the prices of the major online retailers is a great first step, but far from the end game.

By not matching online prices, retailers are essentially inviting mobile shoppers to come into their facilities to check out the merchandise before ordering online. But price matching is just a start.

Many consumers are not even aware that major stores will match the prices of competitors, so they never get a deal anyway.

This path-of-least-resistance shopper is likely to compare prices at home before even venturing to the store and many go to the store with the lowest advertised price. This means the Best Buys of the world will never even see that shopper.

The in-store, mobile shopper – not to be confused with a shopper who has a mobile phone -- is a different breed. They know how to scan a barcode and are comfortable with price comparison apps like ShopSavvy, Amazon PriceCheck and RedLaser.



The mobile shopper can and will find out on the spot if they’re getting the best deal.

By agreeing to match prices, a retailer is only in a back-handed way accommodating the mobile shopper, not enhancing their in-store experience.

The opportunity for retailers who are serious about serving mobile shoppers is to go well beyond price matching.

In-store Wi-Fi, in-aisle SMS and MMS offers, QR codes on packaging linking to added value beyond static websites, location-based deals and added rewards are but a few tactics to further engage mobile shoppers.

Employees armed with smartphones and tablets (and the training on how to best use them) could teach traditional shoppers how to become mobile shoppers. They could show them how to scan products and compare prices, gathering valuable customer feedback and insights in the process.

Matching the prices of online retailers doesn’t enhance the in-store shopping experience. Price matching is now just the cost of entry to appeal to the mobile shopper.

What do you think would enhance the in-store experience?

7 comments about "Price Matching & the Mobile Shopper".
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  1. Dan Freund from Kinney Hill Media Partners, February 18, 2013 at 4:52 p.m.

    I suppose this is limited only to how creative the retailers are. The more creative/innovative, the better I feel about making my purchase through them. I suppose retailers can enhance the experience by advancing the perception of value... or simply by differentiating the mobile shopper from the traditional shopper. Show me an amazing deal viewable just to me (mobile shopper) while I'm in the store. Prompt me to make a purchase I hadn't necessarily considered because the offer is well below any competitor's price. Invite me to connect through my loyalty card so that you know when I'm in the store... and reward me for doing so, even if I don't wind up making a purchase on this visit.

    Perhaps by doing so, retailers will encourage more visits to the store, thereby increasing the opportunities to pitch me on great deals.

    This is obviously dependent upon my willingness to be watched/tracked as I shop, but if the rewards are high enough... I'll consider opting in.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 18, 2013 at 5:14 p.m.

    A valid point, Paula, though the opportunity is to sell additional products and services in the course of the in-store customer interaction. Additionally, a large percentage of shoppers are not likely to take advantage of the price match, at least in the short run.

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 18, 2013 at 5:16 p.m.

    Well stated, Dan, a great list of ideas of how retailers can innovate.

  4. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, February 19, 2013 at 5:07 a.m.

    @Paula: a shop can profitably make individual sales at just above the marginal cost, so they can afford to price-match for individual costomers. But if they sold everything at those prices then they would not cover their overheads and would make a large loss overall.

  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 19, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.

    Good point, Pete, not all shoppers will be mobile shoppers and not all will even know about or bother with price matching issues.

  6. Kevin Horne from Verizon, February 20, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

    ideas = "location-based deals and added rewards"...meaning retailers should not only match the lowest price, BUT SHOULD GO EVEN LOWER for the mobile shopper (only?)... = tactical, me-too, race to the bottom...

  7. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, February 20, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.

    The many retailers face is whether and how to accommodate the mobile shopper, Kevin. If they don't, they are back to fostering showrooming and will lose all the revenue of those customers anyway. It is, for sure, a challenge, but the price-match is only one factor.

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