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Target extends price matching policy

Jan. 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. retail chain Target said it would extend its holiday season low-price matching policy to a year-round standard practice.

Target said it would match prices with Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, cnet reported Tuesday.

Customers have seven days after making a purchase to call Target's attention to a lower price. Under a variety of stipulations, including finding an exact match for the item in question, including color, Target said it would allow the customer the lower price.

Cnet said the onus was on the customer to prove that a lower price could be found elsewhere. The fine print includes qualifiers, such as matching the merchandise from another retailer by "brand name, size, weight, color, quantity and model numbers."

To receive the lower price, the item must be in stock at a Target store at the time the request is made for the lower price. Customers must also bring proof of the competitor's price, which Target said it would verify independently.

The deal is limited to "one competitor online price match per identical item, per guest," Target said.

The policy is an effort for Target to stop customers from "showrooming," which is the practice of inspecting merchandise at a brick and mortar store, then finding a cheaper price online and making a purchase elsewhere.

The practices is called "showrooming," because Target and other retailers end up playing the role of the show room for an online supplier with cheaper prices and less overhead.

The problem, said one industry analyst, is that the price matching policy for the recent holiday shopping season did not stop sales at Target from falling short of expectations.

"Target has disappointed three holiday seasons in a row, as it works to strike the appropriate balance between price and promotions in a world that is increasingly competitive and shifting toward e-commerce," said Jefferies analyst Daniel Binder.

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