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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Best Buy rolls out permanent price matching

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By Clark Howard


After having a lousy Christmas 2012, Best Buy has announced they'll match the prices from a pretty broad range of online and brick-and-mortar competitors.

Beginning in March, Best Buy will match Amazon.com, Apple.com, BHPhotoVideo.com, Buy.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, Frys.com, HHGregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, NewEgg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com and Walmart.com. Ditto for local retailers too.

This effort has been rolled out in response to "showrooming." That's a fancy term to describe people using their smartphones to shop for better prices on goods right there in the store from competing brick-and-mortar and Internet retailers.

In fact, I have an app on my smart phone called ShopSavvy that allows me to scan a bar code at a store and instantly get a list of retailers both online and local offering the same item for a cheaper price.

There are only two requirements for the price matching offer: It has to be an item with an identical manufacturer's number and the competition has to have it in stock.

Inquiring minds want to know, why wouldn't Best Buy just make their prices lower to start with?

The answer is because they're a high-low retailer. Their everyday price won't be the lowest, but their promotional items will often be the best price you can find.

The whole idea behind this move is that a lot of people have written Best Buy off. This is a way to hopefully put them back in people's minds. Then the question becomes…will Best Buy make any money by matching the competition? The reality is they've got no choice.

In business, when you fail to adapt to a changing market, you are going to lose. Think about how a lot of TV and radio operators are failing to adapt to technologies that the Internet is bringing forward. You fail to adapt...you don't survive. Just look at the newspapers.



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