Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Price Matching

Tonight I was looking at buying a couple things online and the price seemed a little expensive. On a whim I checked a direct competitor of the first store, expecting the price to be identical since they both sell the exact same products. Instead there was a difference in price of a little over 12%.

Both places offer free shipping, both sites were reputable, the products are identical, there was no fashion or trend aspect to the items, they were not niche products, etc. Basically there is no reason that the prices shouldn't be the same.

I can understand in a physical retail store you could charge different prices because you are more convenient, provide better service, your store looks nicer, whatever. But online most of that falls away, even the stickiness of "hey I'm already here and its in my hand, I'll just buy it" or "I don't want to drive over there to see if it is cheaper". It took 30 seconds to go check out another site and find out that I could save some money buying it here rather then there.

I will admit to a certain amount of loyalty (read: laziness) in where I purchase from online, and generally won't buy from some place too shady, but beyond that I'll totally go for the lowest (or close to the lowest) price. I assume that most people would.

So why wouldn't the prices be identical, unless one place just straight up can't match that price without losing money on it and decided not have use it as a loss leader for the sake of continuing the appearance of always having the lowest price. Which probably doesn't bode well for one of these two companies, when their whole business is selling items such as I was looking at. Let the death watch begin.

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