Multichannel retailers must concede that without some compelling and legitimate reason (note this means in the eyes of the consumer) pricing cannot be different across channels for individual consumers. Every one of your 1000 stores is competing with every online retailer that is selling similar products. Most importantly your customers will not accept an inability or unwillingness to match your own online pricing in store.
As ecommerce continued to expand during the 2013 holiday season we saw an increase in retailers implementing price matching. While overall this is a positive step its imperative to understand that its how these policies are executed that will determine success. Gartner research shows consumers actually appear to reward retailers that they can trust to provide competitive pricing without having to request it from the store personnel. Further analysis indicated that price matching polices were not converting consumers from browsers to buyers and in fact customers are traveling to competitive stores to make purchases even when a price matching policy is in place. So what’s the issue? Consumers do not want to have to do the research and reject being inconvenienced by a slow and clumsy process.
Ultimately reversing the drain in market share caused by digital retailers will require a more aggressive approach than price matching. Rather the results point to success that is more strategically driven with knowledge of competitive pricing and a deliberate thought process around channel contribution to total retail sales. Retailers that fail to draft and execute a strategic multichannel pricing strategy including proactive competitive pricing and multichannel consistency will continue to lose market share to nimble competitors.
Your customers are not fools so treat them the way you expect to be treated.