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As the holiday shopping season fast approaches, retailer Best Buy is planning to shrug off concerns that many internet users are simply using their stores as a showroom for products purchased online by price matching.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Best Buy is hoping to avoid another slump in holiday sales by taking steps to increase the number of potential customers who come into the store and actually buy something.
Right now that number stands at 40 percent, but the company thinks it can do better in an effort to stave off "showrooming" -- a term for internet shoppers who use use a retail store to see and touch a product, then go online to buy it somewhere else.
Executives claim showrooming happens with only a small percentage of customers -- a number in the "mid-teens," but which has jumped three percentage points in the last two years alone. The company's forthcoming plans seem to acknowledge that something must be done to address the growing problem.
The solution appears to be, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" -- as in, match the better internet price rather than lose the sale completely. Best Buy is still working out the details on the new program, which the report notes "might exclude some products."
According to one source, another plan in the works is to "offer free home delivery on merchandise that is out of stock in stores."
The problem isn't unique to Best Buy -- it's also an issue for Walmart and Toys "R" Us as well, especially with more customers equipped with smartphones that enables price matching without even leaving the store.
"The future belongs to the retailer who has what the customer wants and can sell it through every channel -- store, online and mobile," concludes Toys "R" Us CEO Gerald Storch.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter