Nordstrom, Best Buy and other major retailers are giving store managers greater power to negotiate with customers on prices, according to a report in The New York Times.
A number of retailers, including Staples, Toys R Us, and Target offer price-matching policies on all merchandise.
But many others — including Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot — are going even further this season by allowing managers to take an additional 10% off a competitor’s price, the co-founders of the discount-tracking website DealScience told the Times.
A heavily promotional environment and shorter holiday shopping season have given rise to more generous pricing policies. Retailers are also feeling pressure from consumers’ increasing use of price comparison tools available online.
While price-matching policies are more common for electronics and low-end retailers like Wal-Mart, even high-end retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales are giving managers negotiating powers on prices, according to the article.
The Times’ Hilary Stout reports:
“Joe Marrapodi, one of the founders and the chief executive of Greentoe.com, a new name-your-own price website, walked into Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s the other day in Santa Monica, Calif., and without identifying himself or his occupation, casually asked employees if they were open to bargaining. Both the sales representatives and the managers said yes without hesitation, he said, and cited specific price-matching policies.”
Nordstrom keeps its price-matching policy somewhat hidden in a “pricing policy” section of the retailer’s website.
The policy promises to match a competitor’s pricing on any item in the same size and colour offered at Nordstrom. It also pledges to refund customers’ money for items that go on sale within two weeks of purchase. Macy’s has a similar policy.
Bloomingdale’s, however, does not offer a price-matching policy, according to its website. In fact, the company doesn’t even offer to match its own prices if they differ between the website and a physical store.
To succeed in bargaining for lower prices, retail experts recommend making a polite request for a reasonable discount.
“The key is to be polite and confident,” Kyle James of Redding, Calif., who writes a blog about personal finance, told the Times. “Nine times out of 10 they have coupons sitting at their desk to give to you.”
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