A growing percentage of the stuff Americans buy is sold online from Amazon and other web-based retailers. But you can’t walk into an Amazon store to check out the latest Kindle, laptop, smartphone, or game console before placing an order.
We have Best Buy and Walmart, and other bricks and mortar stores for that — but if we use them to fondle items we’re eventually going to order from Amazon due to lower prices, those bricks and mortar stores might not be around forever.
The Wall Street Journal reports some major US retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, and Target are embracing so-called “showrooming” as a way to attract customers… and hopefully keep them.
Best Buy, for instance, now has a price matching policy. If you wander into a Best Buy to check out a gadget before buying it online, the store wants you to know that they’ll match prices from local retailers, as well as from some top online stores including Amazon, B&H, Newegg, TigerDirect, and B&H.
Target has actually installed WiFi in stores to make it easier for customers to compare prices while they browser the aisles.
According to the WSJ, the strategies seems to be at least keeping the companies from losing customers in droves — and it seems to make more sense to embrace showrooming than to adopt policies that could turn potential customers away.
But it’s not hard to imagine a future where online retail giants like Amazon do to big box stores like Walmart and Home Depot what they had already done to mom and pop neighborhood stores, slowly driving them out of business by offering lower prices.