News Column

Best Buy Fights Show-rooming With Price-matching

Feb 21, 2013

Robert Evatt

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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

That's the attitude Best Buy is taking toward "show-rooming" with its new policy to price-match better deals you can find online.

Show-rooming is the practice of finding an item in a physical store and using a smartphone to look up a better price online. Best Buy Co. executives have long complained that the practice is affecting their bottom line.

The new policy probably won't completely fix the problem - in fact, it will make savvy customers even more likely to use their smartphones for on-the-spot comparison of Best Buy's prices with those online. But the company figures that having to sell that "Downton Abbey" DVD set for $10 dollars less than it would like is better than not selling it at all.

It's not quite a free-for-all, according to what tipsters have told the Consumerist website. When Best Buy's policy kicks in March 3, the price matched is before taxes, and the retailer will no longer do price matches after you've already bought the product. Additionally, the time you have to return a product goes down from 30 days to 15 days, although if you're a Reward Zone member you'll have more time.

You'll also be restricted to 19 websites: Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Buy.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, Frys.com, Hhgregg.com, HP.com, Homedepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, Officedepot.com, Officemax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, Tigerdirect.com and Walmart.com.

Still, that's a fairly wide spread of sites. Time will tell how this works out for Best Buy, but it sounds like a definite plus for shoppers.



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