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The New Flavour of Price Matching

360pi deliberates on the right and wrong ways to use price matching when building customer loyalty and trust.

In today’s price transparent world, retailers are going on the offensive in the battle for customers and offering ever more aggressive competitive pricing programs, such as Name Your Price (NYP) strategies and Walmart’s new Savings Catcher. Both of these are essentially yesterday’s price matching techniques, but with today’s priorities. Instead of relying on the shopper to ferret out better deals elsewhere, then reluctantly matching them, they use the price matching strategy to build customer loyalty and satisfaction – ultimately, benefiting the brand. So, the important thing is, who should and shouldn’t get a price match?

Who should:

Proactively offering competitor price information goes a long way to build customer trust and loyalty. Proactive disclosure of competitive pricing can take place online or in-store, and relies heavily on availability of complete up-to-date competitive pricing information. But it’s worth it – if your best customers know that they can trust your competitive pricing, why would they go anywhere else? Walmart’s Savings Catcher program offers all price matching discounts in the form of a gift card to be used in the store, thus making sure their best customers are satisfied and come back again.

Who shouldn’t:

“Retail fraud” made a lot of noise in the news in 2012, but without a reliable source of real-time competitive price information, how can you be sure that it isn’t still a problem today? Many retailers believe that a portion of price-match discounts given are not validated. That is, the price a customer is quoting is actually not available in a competitor store or online. Also, if the price is advertised on a competitor website, but the product is not in stock – does that mean your customer should still receive a discount? The first step to dealing with these issues is information and visibility. When your store employees are talking to the customer, they deserve to have the same information – or more – than is available to shoppers. Store managers also need information about why a discount was granted.

Many large retailers already depend on 360pi to support them with intelligence and insight for success in a price transparent world. We would love to hear your experience with price matching and suggest systematic solutions. Get in touch with us!

About the Author
360pi derives profitable insights from product and pricing big data to help leading omnichannel retailers, etailers, and brand manufacturers compete and win with shoppers. 360pi’s customer base accounts for over $US200 billion in annual product sales and includes Ace Hardware, Build.com, and Overstock.com, along with several Fortune 500 consumer products companies. With the majority of in-store purchases being influenced online, 360pi helps retailers and brands successfully navigate the multi-channel landscape with real-time insight into who is selling what, where, and for how much. Ultimately, 360pi customers make smarter decisions faster to drive increased revenues and margins across all channels.