Staples Prepares to Take on Amazon with Price Matching
By Ina Steiner
It's difficult to think of many retailers with which Amazon does not compete. Despite what has seemed like a friendly relationship, office-supplies chainstore Staples may be preparing to take aim at the ecommerce giant during the holiday shopping season.
An EcommerceBytes reader forwarded part of a survey Staples is conducting about the effectiveness of various advertisements. One question shows two ads and asks which one would make the respondent shop Staples more often - the ad with the words "price match guarantee" or the ad with the words "We'll Match Amazon's prices." The tagline under each states, "Pay the lowest price every time you shop: We'll match any competitor with an online and retail store - plus Amazon."
The reader said there were about five questions in the survey all relating to whether Staples should or shouldn't mention Amazon directly, "and whether that would make you more inclined to take action on their ad and buy at Staples."
It's not as though Amazon hasn't engaged in the low-price battle. It famously incurred the wrath of retailers when it offered consumers a bounty for using its Price Check mobile app. On December 10, 2011, it gave consumers a 5% discount on items purchased through Amazon if they used its Price Check mobile app to compare prices at retail stores.
But while Wal-mart and Target took defensive measures by dropping Amazon Kindles from their stores, Staples continues to carry the line. And it participated in Amazon's test of in-store delivery lockers where Amazon shoppers could pick up their orders.
But it looks like Staples is feeling the pressure. It is testing its own delivery lockers in new-style "omnichannel" stores, according to Internet Retailer. The retailer is testing two such stores that offer a smaller footprint with kiosks where shoppers can order products online.
Price-matching programs are becoming increasingly common among retailers. ToysRUs recently announced it would expand its price matching policy to include online retailers such as Walmart.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com and Amazon.com - though not Amazon Marketplace.
With the holiday shopping season ramping up, it's clear retailers will use price and convenience to woo shoppers.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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