10 March 2014

Losing a Customer, Probably

This afternoon I ventured to my local Bed Bath & Beyond intending to buy a coffee grinder. It turned out that the model I intended to get was out of stock; I had checked the stock online over the weekend, but not today before leaving the house.

But I probably wouldn't have ended up buying it even if it was in stock, because the store price was $10 higher than the online price. This is the sort of thing that irritates the crap out of me. You can order an item online to pick up in-store, and I have done this in the past with certain items, but in this instance it didn't seem necessary. And if you do that, it's possible you wouldn't see the item on the shelf in the store, so you might not know there was a price difference.

And beyond that, we've had nearly two decades of e-commerce; isn't it time to expect that online prices and in-store prices will match? There's really no excuse at this point for this not to be so. If a website can tell me what stores have an item in stock, and lets me order it through the site to pick up at the store, then it probably means a common supply chain; what, then, is the justification for a different price on the item in the store? Taking advantage of people who don't use the internet, or are just gullible? Hoping that because people are already in the store they'll just give in and buy the item they came in for anyway? Neither of these strikes me as a strategy that will earn long-term customer loyalty.

Normally I would have left the store's name out of such a story, but I was so dismayed by the occurrence that I don't care. I know marketing people have google alerts for when stuff like this gets published online, so if someone from BB&B reads this and wants to talk with me about it, swell. (Maybe they can also explain why the 20% off coupons have disappeared.)

I walked over to the adjacent Target and bought ground coffee to use while I decide which online store I'm going to order a grinder from. And as I've dug a little deeper into looking at grinders online, I've also started to have second thoughts about the particular model I was planning to buy. I'm hoping to speak to the proprietor of our local coffee shop to ask her opinion about grinders, so it may take a few days longer to make a decision and order the thing.

1 comment:

Sandra Miller said...

Yes, the prices should match. But I have had great success asking a store manager to match the price of their (or an online competitor's) price. Most want your business.