Black Friday 2014 Updates

Best Buy to Price-Match Online Retailers

Best Buy to Price-Match Online Retailers According to multiple Wall Street Journal reports, Best Buy will price-match online retailers this holiday season while also offering free shipping on items not available in-stores. The new policy goes into effect starting Sunday, November 4.

The new policy appears to be an effort to curtail "show rooming" – the practice of testing out products in-store before purchasing the item online (usually from the lowest priced retailer).

Unfortunately, this is not a carte blanche policy on online price-matching as Best Buy will only price-match a limited list of 20 online merchants (Amazon and NewEgg are included on this list), will not price-match the week of Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and most importantly, allow Best Buy customer service representatives to honor the policy at their discretion.

Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter said that employees should primarily use online price-matching as a "tool to close sales," something that could end up muddying the waters between the employee and consumer. That is, as currently announced, a Best Buy employee could seemingly use the online price-matching policy as a leverage tool to entice a buyer to also purchase an accessory package or warranty plan.

Another caveat with the online price-matching policy is that Best Buy can only price-match items that they sell: if Amazon has a great deal on a camera but Best Buy doesn't carry that model, you'll be out of luck. Model matching is hard enough during the year, but it's a completely different monster for the holiday season as many popular items have store-specific model numbers.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out; price-matching is already not a seamless process and how well Best Buy trains their in-store representatives on this new policy will ultimately control how successful this promotion is.

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