Best Buy touts price-matching to combat online rivals

A Best Buy store in New York City
The Richfield-based Best Buy says it's new policy, effective immediately, is aimed to increase purchases by people who visit the chain's stores and fight "showrooming," the industry term for shoppers who check out a product at a store only to buy it online for a lower price.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Best Buy is touting a policy giving sales people the authority to match the prices of Amazon.com and other online competitors. The Richfield-based consumer electronics retailer says the move --effective immediately-- is aimed at increasing purchases by people who visit the chain's stores.

The policy gives Best Buy's sales people the authority to match prices online competitors when it is deemed reasonable.

The Richfield-based consumer electronics retailer says the change, effective immediately, is aimed at increasing purchases by people who visit the chain's stores.

The company is fighting "showrooming," the industry term for shoppers who check out a product at a store only to buy it online for a lower price. Best Buy estimates 600 million visits annually to its stores, and 15 percent of it shoppers engage in showrooming. The retailer says about 40 percent of shoppers purchase something during a store visit.

In many states, online merchants don't charge sales taxes, while Best Buy has to collect the taxes. Price-matching could turn more visitors into buyers.

"Best Buy is turning the tables on showrooming," said Amy von Walter, a company spokeswoman. "As far as price-matching goes, we are now giving our frontline employees the opportunity to match our competitor's price when it makes sense. Employees are empowered to match a competitor's online price if it means it will help them make the sale."

Best Buy employees have said in the past they have the option to match online prices but only with the approval of a manager.

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