To match or not to match the price of an online retailer

I feel like all the world is getting too big for its britches regarding the information and details relating to understanding and managing online marketing and sales – and forget about mobile retailing. …

I am a brick and mortar girl; I rarely purchase online, and when I do, it is usually a gift that has to be shipped anyway. I love the store experience; I want to touch and see items in their true form. I want to know that the shoes or jacket I like would actually fit me.

But I realize that the world has other ideas about shopping for goods. Some shoppers HATE to shop; they don’t want to take the time to do it; they may not function well with the real-world experience and working with sales people. I get it. Some shoppers lack trust in salespeople, or they may think salespeople may lack the knowledge. In any case, the reasons for online shopping are not always centered on pricing as I hear from dealer staff regularly.

Customers don’t know all that goes on related to retailers acquiring products, the discounts or specials that online retailers offer, the margins you have to work with and other ways retailers make their products more attractive over the other guy. All they know is I want this!

Here are some questions to ask to help manage customers who online shop and want you to match the price:

  • Why haven’t they purchased it yet. This is a big one … why?
  • What online retailer do they regularly shop at? Always ask this.
  • Is there commonality with a brand or product that is regularly brought up?
  • Are the good they’re asking about low grade, mid, or high?
  • Are they regulars to the store and buy many other products from you.
  • Are they First time shoppers to your store?
  • Are they planning to buy today?
  • Are there other products they are planning to buy today from you?
  • Is the product one you stock? Would it have to be special ordered?
  • Could this product be drop shipped to customer, so you make the sale?

Make sure you know the motivation of your buyer before you tell them you don’t match Internet pricing. If you have not asked any questions of this shopper, you are crazy! Your number one job is to sell and to find the motivation, and to remove objections.

Tips for avoiding discounting:

  • Avoid stocking products that routinely are lower price than you can offer.
  • Do stock items that they will pay full price for and need.
  • Avoid being negative to customers. Always strive to work with them for a solution.
  • Do determine if the product that they are seeking is the right application for their true needs.

Good service may lead to a long-term customers, so don’t be snarky and blow off customers that ask about price matching. If they were so convinced that the online product is the best buy, don’t you wonder why they have not purchased it already?

Jennifer Robison’s career began in 1987 when she served as a service writer/parts sales for a high-end import auto dealer before becoming one of the first generation of Harley-Davidson Motorclothes managers at a Northwest dealership (1991-2000). From 2002 on, Jennifer has been with Tucker Rocky Distributing. Jennifer has educated the Tucker Rocky sales force and dealers about the powersports apparel business and powersports retailing. Jennifer’s expertise is in powersports retailing, merchandising and display, promotions and in-store marketing. She has lectured and written about powersports retailing and continues to perform dealer educational workshops and seminars across the United States.

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  1. The critical need is to engage the customer in a CNA, that lets the customer know you GAS(give a Shi*&()

  2. Agreed, the key is to get in the game, “showrooming” is not going to go away one day. Powersports industry needs to train P & A staff in the latest sales strategy skills.
    Engage, harvest information and do your best to make the sale or a sale on something while you have that customer in your store…..Remember, the internet drove a customer to you, how you use that is your business.

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