Retailers Not Interested in Playing Price Match with Mobile Shoppers

March 24, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The good news for brick-and-mortar retailers who may be feeling a bit squeezed by online shopping and mobile systems is that there are quite a few ways to take advantage of mobile systems to bring shoppers back into the fold. There are ways to help customers do research, particularly handy on mobile devices.

There are ways to offer location-specific deals, which often use mobile devices as the primary display medium for finding such measures. There are even ways to personalize a shopping experience. Retailers, however, are often leaving one method out of the equation: price matching.

Fortunately, more retailers are putting a lot of extra effort into providing value at the other ends of the mobile spectrum; personalizing deals, using location-specific measures, offering more mobile connectivity for research…these things are all getting in on the action in many stores. That last pricing check, however, may be the key to winning over a shopper from a mobile purchase.

The biggest problem is that retailers want to be competitive—42 percent said as much in a recent study—but only 29 percent would match a lower price found via mobile. Only four percent of retailers would actually beat a mobile price.

Granted, there are some reasons for this. Brick-and-mortar retailers really only have so much room when it comes to prices; the pricing has to be fairly set, otherwise said retailers wouldn’t make enough to keep the lights on, the heat running, employees paid and so forth. Online retailers have less overhead and therefore need less profit per item, so they can afford some deeper price cuts.

While previous retail incarnations were happy to match or even beat prices, they required proof, like a newspaper or coupon to prove the price as listed. That was much more cumbersome, and therefore less likely to be engaged in. Today it’s as easy as showing someone a mobile phone screen.

Retailers really only can go so far on prices, but those who fail to at least match online may well find themselves losing a lot of business. Brick-and-mortar needs to focus on its advantages to survive, and hope its offering a customer experience of sufficient quality to make users less interested in just what they’re paying.