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December 15, 2014

Click vs. Brick Follow-up

Filed under: Computers,Electronics,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:14 am

 Last week, Consumer World presented the results of its survey of prices on a retailer’s website compared to the prices charged for the same item at its brick-and-mortar store locations. The prices were not always the same, and web prices were not always lower.

To emphasize the point that you always have to check prices in both places, online and in-store, here is an example of the inconsistency week to week of pricing between the two.

In the original story, we showed a huge price difference on a Dell computer at versus at Staples stores:

Staples week one prices

Just before Black Friday, the price online was $429.99, but in-store it was $180 higher — $609.99!

Fast forward to last week, December 7. The price differences reversed.


in-store week 2


week 2 online

This time, the in-store price was $130 lower than the online price. Go figure.

As we said, there is no rhyme or reason to the price variations. You can’t predict whether the online price will be cheaper or more expensive than the in-store price, so you have to check both each time.

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  1. I think it is funny that the online price has different lines for the Regular Price and “now” price even though they are the same. It’s almost like online price fluctuates so much that there is a script to make the consumer think the two prices are always different.

    I still don’t understand why the online price would be $20 cheaper though. It’s almost as if the online and store divisions don’t communicate with each other to coordinate how to move inventory.

    Comment by Wayne R — December 15, 2014 @ 10:50 am
  2. A few years ago Walmart employees were explaining to me how they charge different prices for an iPod Touch depending on how it is sold. The in-store price was higher with web lower. You could even do an in-store same day pickup – ie get the exact same item as going to the store. They refused to price match themselves claiming and walmart are separate entities and similar excuses. In the end I returned the item and went to a different store where they don’t pull this nonsense.

    Comment by Roger — December 15, 2014 @ 1:19 pm
  3. Walmart’s recent (Fall 2014) changes to its pricematch policy now allow matches to (as well as several other popular online sites). It’s a nice change. I think they fostered a lot of resentment turning down pricematches to their own web site.

    Comment by Marc K — December 22, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

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