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Broader Price Match Pits Target Against Online Incursions

Wednesday January 9th, 2013 - 10:29AM


Target Corp is responding to online retailers, particularly Amazon.com, who it complains haven’t been adhering to MAP pricing, by making a change in policy. The retailer announced that it would price match top online retailers year-around, including Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Toysrus.com.

Target stores also will price match items found on Target.com. The Toysrus.com price match pledge includes Babiesrus.com.

The new policy, which Target said takes effect immediately, will combine the retailer’s previous price adjustment and competitor ad match initiatives into one simple policy that now includes select online stores. If a customer buys a qualifying item at a Target store, then finds the identical item for less in its circular for the following week or within seven days on Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com or Toysrus.com, or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will match the price. The policy and related Target initiatives have focused on showrooming in its stores, as customers with mobile devices check its shelf prices against those found online, and what it considers unfair practices by web-based retailers.

“Guests can confidently shop at Target every day for the best value in retail,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. “We know that our guests often compare prices online. With our new Price Match Policy and the additional 5% savings guests receive when they use their REDcard, Target provides an unbeatable value.”

Target noted that it introduced its first price match policy, the Low Price Promise, in 2009 and began matching select online competitors for the first time this holiday season. Customers in stores can requested at a price match at Target Guest Services prior to a purchase with proof of current price or by bringing the original Target receipt and proof of current price.

Early last year, Target distributed a letter to vendors signed by Steinhafel and Kathee Tesija, Target’s executive vp/merchandising. It read, in part:

“What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands, create a superior guest experience, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, and support local communities.”

Target management, in the letter, asked vendors to develop Target programs that are differentiated from online-only offerings and still feature best sellers, and/or provide the same pricing as online-only outlets without lowering Target margins.