Target is sick and tired of customers who browse its stores and then go and buy products for cheaper prices from online retailers.To reduce so-called “showrooming,” Target has asked its vendors to adopt one of two practices, according to the WSJ:
Last week, in an urgent letter to vendors, the Minneapolis-based chain suggested that suppliers create special products that would set it apart from competitors and shield it from the price comparisons that have become so easy for shoppers to perform on their computers and smartphones.
Where special products aren’t possible, Target asked the suppliers to help it match rivals’ prices. It also said it might create a subscription service that would give shoppers a discount on regularly purchased merchandise.
Target’s troubles with showrooming are shared by brick and mortar stores everywhere. Unfortunately small retailers may not have the clout to demand special products (see: Missoni) or help in price matching — and price matching without support from the supplier can be a losing proposition.