Price Matching & the Mobile Shopper

by Net Future Institute on February 19, 2013

The bar for retailers to play in the mobile space to combat showrooming keeps getting higher.

Best Buy’s decision to finally match the prices of the major online retailers is a great first step, but far from the end game.

By not matching online prices, retailers are essentially inviting mobile shoppers to come into their facilities to check out the merchandise before ordering online. But price matching is just a start.

Many consumers are not even aware that major stores will match the prices of competitors, so they never get a deal anyway.

This path-of-least-resistance shopper is likely to compare prices at home before even venturing to the store and many go to the store with the lowest advertised price. This means the Best Buys of the world will never even see that shopper.

The in-store, mobile shopper – not to be confused with a shopper who has a mobile phone — is a different breed. They know how to scan a barcode and are comfortable with price comparison apps like ShopSavvy, Amazon PriceCheck and RedLaser.

The mobile shopper can and will find out on the spot if they’re getting the best deal.

By agreeing to match prices, a retailer is only in a back-handed way accommodating the mobile shopper, not enhancing their in-store experience.

The opportunity for retailers who are serious about serving mobile shoppers is to go well beyond price matching.

In-store Wi-Fi, in-aisle SMS and MMS offers, QR codes on packaging linking to added value beyond static websites, location-based deals and added rewards are but a few tactics to further engage mobile shoppers.

Employees armed with smartphones and tablets (and the training on how to best use them) could teach traditional shoppers how to become mobile shoppers. They could show them how to scan products and compare prices, gathering valuable customer feedback and insights in the process.

Matching the prices of online retailers doesn’t enhance the in-store shopping experience. Price matching is now just the cost of entry to appeal to the mobile shopper.

What do you think would enhance the in-store experience?

Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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