Target Corp. (TGT:US) stores will match the online prices of retailers including Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT:US) and Best Buy Co. during the holiday season as it works to stem the loss of sales to rivals’ websites.
The pricing policy, which also will include Toys “R” Us Inc., will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 16, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel said today in a presentation in New York.
Target is trying to fight the trend known as “showrooming,” in which shoppers use physical stores to browse merchandise and then order it from online retailers. Websites are grabbing more of shoppers’ dollars, with industrywide online sales rising 39 percent on Thanksgiving and 24 percent on Black Friday last year, according to International Business Machines Corp.’s Coremetrics.
“We wanted to be competitive whether they are brick-and- mortar or an online retailer,” Steinhafel said in an interview. “We wanted to be in the game.”
Target rose 1.8 percent to $62.90 at the close in New York. The Minneapolis-based company’s shares (TG:US) have gained 23 percent this year.
Target also will match the prices of other physical stores from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24.
The new online price matching will be promoted in Target stores along with its rewards card and free online shipping, Steinhafel said. Shoppers will do the price match at the customer service desk with a receipt, not while checking out. Customers also can return to a store later with an item if they find a lower online price at one of the named competitors.
Target will begin testing in-store pickup for online orders next year, Casey Carl, the retailer’s president of multichannel, said in the presentation. The retailer also is adding free Wi-Fi in all of its stores this fall.
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