January 4, 2006, 12:00 AM

The Match Game

(Page 2 of 2)

The same thing can happen in reverse, she notes. “If there are some products on which you’re never getting a price match, you may have the opportunity to raise prices on those products,” Whitfield says.

The key, however, is having the information available in a database for analysis. “The database has the potential to have a large impact on the bottom line,” Whitfield says.

In addition, simply offering the price match on a web site could increase consumers’ comfort level with shopping at a particular retailer and result in higher sales, whether or not the customer actually requests a price match, Whitfield says. “Price matching can create higher customer satisfaction,” she says. “It communicates to a certain set of consumers that the retailer is doing everything they can to offer low prices. It raises their comfort level in shopping at that retailer.”

A permanent change

Eric Holm, product manager of enterprise products for CommercialWare, notes that Jenson, by making the price match available throughout an organization, is among the vanguard of retailers offering price matching. “Jenson is taking price matching to the next level,” he says. “They are more forward thinking in their approach to this than most others.”

Other retailers will need to get more sophisticated in their approaches to price matching, especially against eBay competitors, Cachat warns. “There is this mindset among retailers of rejecting eBay as an avenue of retailing because its whole premise is discounting,” he says. “But it’s not going away.”

kurt@verticalwebmedia.com

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