Best Buy’s Low-Price Guarantee: The End of Showrooming?

The retail behemoth says it'll match prices from major online merchants.

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Spencer Platt / Getty

A shopper carts off a new TV at a Best Buy store in Naples, Fl. on November 23, 2012.

Bloomberg’s Chris Burritt reports that retail behemoth Best Buy is introducing a permanent price-matching policy. It covers other chains which sell electronics, but also 19 major online competitors including Amazon, which often aggressively undercut the prices available at Best Buy or any other physical storefront:

The permanent price match has been expanded to cover almost all categories of merchandise, including accessories such as smartphone chargers, Furman said. It doesn’t cover phones purchased under contract.

“We are going to a low-price guarantee,” Furman said. “There is no doubt that this new policy ends showrooming for Best Buy customers.”

Best Buy narrowed its window for returning merchandise to 15 days to coincide with its policy that allows customers to claim lower prices on items they’ve purchased in the retailer’s stores and online, Furman said. Customers have 15 days to take advantage of such lower prices.

Best Buy is continuing its policy of not charging restocking fees on returns, Furman said. He wouldn’t discuss how the move may affect profitability.

“Showrooming” is the practice of going to a brick-and-mortar store such as Best Buy to check out a product, then buying it more cheaply from an online merchant. And indeed, in theory at least, the new policy should eliminate anyone’s incentive to visit Best Buy and then buy online. (Amazon’s