Recently I was in a Best Buy store while traveling because I needed three items which retailed each for $99. I needed one right away but the other two could have waited. So while in the store I decided to do something novel. I picked up all three items and went to an employee in the store and explained I would rather buy all three of these items right now but I can’t see paying retail when Amazon sells this product for $73 each.
Sure I can afford the extra money but there was the principal of paying retail when you really didn’t need to.
I was referred to the assistant manager who informed me the store now has a price match with Amazon and other stores. But I felt guilty – I know Best Buy is having challenges because an increasing number of customers are showrooming or touching and feeling the item in a physical location and then buying the item online.
So I told the gentleman that I understand he has air conditioning and retail rent to pay for and I don’t think matching Amazon’s price is fair. After all the temperature was 105 in the shade just outside the store – I can’t imagine what the store’s electricity bill must be like each month.
He didn’t skip a beat and said how about $90 apiece. “Sold!” I said feeling a bit awkward because I just turned a retail experience in a major publicly traded company into a transaction you might expect to see in a Middle Eastern bazaar.
And this got me thinking – shouldn’t there be some guilt associated with getting an instant gratification purchase and paying less than market rates?
Shouldn’t there be a way to politely nudge consumers to offer a bit more. Because as you can imagine, Best Buy can’t exist on Amazon’s margins – so the more successful they become at selling price-matched items, the less profit they make. In fact, they may lose money on many if not all of these items.
So I propose a sign like this at checkout:
We proudly match any online competitor’s prices. However, if you believe the convenience and courtesy of same day service is worth a bit more, why not consider adding 10% to contribute to keeping your local retail store here for you?
I realize this is a tough sell – consumers like bargains. It also shows weakness – you are inferring the store will go bankrupt after all. But unless consumers start to understand that they are indeed responsible for their local communities losing their retail choices, they won’t ever change their behavior.