It's no secret that Amazon and other online-only retailers have had a devastating effect on both small retailers and major retail chains.
Despite decent store traffic, many retailers have experienced declining sales thanks to "showrooming" -- a practice in which shoppers examine products in store and then purchase those products at a lower cost from an online retail provider. In some cases, shoppers buy from an online retailer while they are still in the brick-and-mortar retailer's store.
With the 2012 holiday retail season rapidly approaching, Franchise Herald is reporting that major retail chains, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Toys R Us are launching new price matching policies in an effort to negate the price advantages that have given online retailers an edge in the marketplace.
Although the price matching strategies and guidelines vary be retailer, most are designed to match online retail pricing and to extend price matching to include purchases made before and after Black Friday.
Small retailers face additional challenges since many are limited in their ability to match Amazon pricing. Pricing methods and strategies are a fundamental skill set for any entrepreneur. But for small retail entrepreneurs, the issue usually comes down to the identification of competitive advantages other than price.
For example, small retailers often leverage customer service tips and other resources to create in-store benefits that online retailers simply can't provide. By emphasizing a personal sales strategy and other in-store tactics like free gift wrapping, small retailers can incentivize consumers to purchase, even if it means spending slightly more than they would from Amazon or other eCommerce giants.
According to Franchise Herald, the holiday shopping season accounts for approximately 40% of retailers' annual revenues. So regardless of the size of the retailer, one thing is certain: it's critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to identify strategies to combat "showrooming" now -- before the seasonal retail season is in full swing.
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