Circuit City Promises The Same Price In The Store And On The Web

Circuit City has announced that, after extensive research, they’ve decided that consumers want to see the same prices in the stores as on-line.

“One Price Promise assures Circuit City shoppers that they will be treated fairly and equally regardless of how they shop with us,” said Jeff Maynard, vice president, marketing at Circuit City Stores, Inc. in a press release. “Customers have been telling us how important this is to them, and we want to give them a strong and competitive value proposition when making purchases.”

“We plan to let consumers know about One Price Promise in a big way,” added Maynard. “We are launching an aggressive national advertising campaign that includes print, broadcast, Internet and in-store marketing tools, and we believe this message of consistency, simplicity and transparency will resonate strongly with consumers in today’s world.”

This flies in the face of conventional electronic retailing wisdom — where its considered “ok” (if not legal) for stores to set up special “fake” websites that look like the real ones but feature “in store” prices and the most common policy is to refuse to price match all websites– even their own.

Will this be thing that saves Circuit City?

Circuit City Launches ‘One Price Promise’ to Assure Consistent, Dependable Pricing in All Sales Channels
[Circuit City]


Edit Your Comment

  1. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    …Why WOULDN’T customers want this? Did they actually have to do research to discover this?

    • Babelfish says:

      @PsychicPsycho3: Unfortunately, yes, they (we) did research on this. Those of us in the stores have been saying we needed this for a long time, but what do the people actually talking to your customers know, anyhow?

      It’s a good move, though, even if it won’t save the company.

    • mugsywwiii says:

      Because some customers aren’t foolish. When the price on the website differs from the in-store price, it’s generally cheaper. Websites are cheaper to operate. Whatever the “ONE” price is, it probably won’t be as low as what the website price would have been.

  2. Roy Hobbs says:

    I actually don’t have a problem with there being one price for web purchases and a different, likely higher price for in-store purchases.

    Selling and fulfillment costs are likely lower for online purchases. In most cases, I would assume that the in-store purchases have a higher cost (transportation, selling expense, depreciation of the building itself, etc.). Why shouldn’t a business be able to recoup those higher costs?

    • ludwigk says:

      @Roy Hobbs: Because Circuit City and Circuit City online are branded and operated as the same brand and try to offer a similar experience. They even have “pick up in store” which means you’re buying a product FROM THE STORE’S INVENTORY, sometimes at a different price because you clicked on the website. An employee still has to complete the transaction on-site. CC are the ones who want to blend the two experiences together. It’s just confusing and frustrating to offer two prices for the same thing, sometimes the very same product from the same store shelf.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @Roy Hobbs:

      You are correct. A business should have different prices for different methods of distribution/sales so as to recoup the different costs related to each selling method.

      HOWEVER, the business must clearly disclose the different prices and why the prices may differ. CC has not been disclosing the differences.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      @Roy Hobbs: I’m conflicted on this one.

      I see the store’s point of view in that you saved them money by shopping yourself online.Even though an employee has to pull your order the store saves the cost of a sales person and a cashier.The more people that BUY online the more these companies save.

      And if you want me to figure everything out myself or already know what I want I should be rewarded with a lower price.

      I think what happens is that the online prices attract SHOPPERS and not actual customers.But if all you have to do is turn that shopper into a customer is give the price they saw online do it.

      Circut City employees or anyone else for that matter need to explain those online prices are for customers who order online.@Corporate-Shill: has it right-clearly spell out the difference between the store or on-line.

    • yikz says:

      @Roy Hobbs: Try ordering something at Best Buy, and they will not fulfill it with “in stock” merchandise, they will specifically order merchandise into the store to fulfill your online order, and then you can pick up your item. Tell me how that’s saving money! It’s all about bait and switch. It’s all about suckering you into the store with a low price, and then selling you something at a much higher price. Best Buy is the leader of this scumbag method of retail. If you advertise a price, you should honor that price. If you have an “online only price”, you say that clearly in bold letters on the advertisement. Until Best Buy comes clean, I refuse to shop there.

      • mugsywwiii says:

        You don’t seem to understand what a bait and switch is… or an advertisement.

        If you can buy it for the price that’s listed, it’s not a bait and switch. And a product listing on their website is not an advertised in-store price.

  3. ludwigk says:

    Are we all supposed to be impressed that Circuit City is finally going to start matching *THEIR OWN PRICES*?

    • Babelfish says:

      @ludwigk: It’s always been corporate policy to match web prices in-store. If you went to a store which wasn’t doing so, it was of their own volition, and they were violating company SOP.

      • lowercase says:

        @QuietStorm: Makes sense. I had no problem price matching a camera in store vs. their website so we could use a store coupon.

        I’ve never been a big CC hater. Around here anyway, it’s cleaner, quieter, and equal in price to Best Buy.

  4. snoop-blog says:

    Too little, too late. They’ve already pissed enough people off enough that coming clean isn’t going to save them.

  5. Zanorfes says:

    Some things will fall through the cracks and their incompetent staff will make the situation even worse. How long before we hear of story where they’re not doing what they’ve promised……..

  6. snoop-blog says:

    It really irks me that a place called Circuit City, doesn’t sell PC parts. (like mobo’s and cpu’s and all the fixins)

    • Kounji says:

      @snoop-blog: You know I’ve always thought the same thing. That’s one of the few things that best buy does that I’m surprised they haven’t copied. Its one of those areas for growth. I think its because so many companies make PCs that the only people who would want PC parts buy them through other means like newegg and other various sites.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @snoop-blog: Further down on the Irony Train, a place called “Fry’s” sells lots of computer parts, motherboards and CPUs included.

      • snoop-blog says:

        @Kounji: I have always found much better deals on tigerdirect for the mobo’s and processors. Now maybe newegg on monitors and cases, but I will only buy a monitor that I actually get to see first, unless it’s from Wal-mart, where I know I can return it no problemo. Fyi, intel dg31pr, intel core 2 duo 2.6ghz, nvidea GeForce 7900gt, 2Gb 800mhz ram. 500Gb western digital caviar green sata HD. Don’t ask me why I posted that other than the fact I’m just a geek.

        • thrillwill says:

          @snoop-blog: But what about the power supply and cooling system?

          Not geeky enough good chap.

          • proskills says:

            @thrillwill: I think it’s actually much more egregious that he misspelled ‘nvidia’. Personally, I don’t care about the cooling system unless you’re going all out with liquid cooling or whatever.

          • snoop-blog says:

            @thrillwill: Ah don’t remember what namebrand my fan was but I have 600watt chief max. Sorry for the f-up on the nvidia, I actually just bought the card from a buddy like 2 days ago, aside from installing the drivers, I haven’t really looked at it yet. I got it for $20 which seems to be a good deal so far.

            • Ratty says:

              @snoop-blog: Provided you’re not going for anything too GPU-intensive, yeah, good deal. The 7900 GT is a solid card even if it’s 3 generations outdated.

              Consider a mere year ago the 7600 GT was retailing for around $80-100 even online, and consider how much nicer the 7900 is, and you can feel happy. :)

              • snoop-blog says:

                @Ratty: I’m actually not a pc gamer. (not yet anyways but give me some time. Literally, I have no time to myself.) I’m just real anal about performance. I mainly surf, listen to music, watch movies and do my homework. I only bought the video card because it was cheap, and I really wanted to get the most from my 22″ widescreen. It was definately a step up from my mobo, which actually surprised me how good it was.

            • proskills says:

              @snoop-blog: I was just messing with you, I really don’t care if you know how to spell nvidia or what shit you have in your box. $20 for any modern video card that works is definitely a good deal.

    • Zeniq says:

      @snoop-blog: Um… get over it?

      • snoop-blog says:

        @Zeniq: Oh thank you for your wise advice. Sorry my comments don’t adhere to your non star status standards. I will try better next time, Dick.

  7. RamV10: The Axeman Returneth says:

    If they’d match prices from large Etailers (Newegg, amazon, ecost, buy, etc) then I’d be excited. Otherwise it’s just something they should have always been doing and now that they’re dying a slow painful death they’re trying to talk it up.

    It’s like advertising that they’ve replaced the holes in the bathroom floor with actual toilets now.

    Big. Fuck. Deal.

    • Franklin Comes Alive! says:


      They can’t afford to do this, it will never happen. It would just accelerate the inevitable bankruptcy at this point, though.

  8. Bensky13 says:

    Well this is interesting because just yesterday, I went in to CC to buy headphones, and realized that they were a dollar more expensive than I remembered. I double checked this on their site on one of their laptops, and at the register I informed them of the difference, where they promptly adjusted the price.

  9. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Well, this will be good to know for the next month or so until all the CC stores get boarded up.

  10. Invective says:

    Circuit City has always had high prices, even on the web. Their special purchases are few and far between, not to mention it’s always the junk version anyway.
    What the marketing department figured out, is that they’ll raise their prices online when they can and lower the in store price will mostly stay the same. Similar to Wal-mart raising prices to then advertise ‘roll back prices’. Now matching the others, that would be something.

    • MSUHitman says:

      @Invective: They do have awesome clearance on video games, also sometimes giving $10 gift cards during release week of high profile titles. And they sometimes have decent Blu-Ray sales.

      But mainly I use CC to price match Best Buy.

  11. Invective says:

    Sorry, my buffer has lost it’s mind…

  12. downwithmonstercable says:

    I wonder how much they spent and how long it took them to do this “extensive research”?

  13. komodork says:

    How long has circuit city been running for? I mean like what company would have 1 price on the internet and than another at their stores in the first place. I’ve never ever seen this happen!sure there may be a select offers that are specifically web only offers but about 99% of the remainder is same price in stores or online.

  14. MyPetFly says:

    RE: Potential failure of Circuit City.

    Darwin could have come up with the same theory if he’d camped out in a few corporate headquarters buildings.

  15. macinjosh says:

    In my opinion, this will probably fare better than the other alternative plan which was to just add 10% to everything at the register.

  16. narf says:

    About time, but too little too late. They’ve soured enough folks that won’t bother to come back.

    As for selling computer parts … with their (in)competence level, such would be a very bad idea. It’ll be like Fry’s … except at a higher price and dealing with someone even dumber.

  17. ajlei says:

    In defense of businesses (I know, I know), it’s a lot easier to offer lower prices online rather than in-store because the store has to pay employees not only for inventory purposes (which is mostly what an online warehouse would have) but customer service employees, cashiers, store support, labor for merchandising, etc. Online retailers don’t have to worry about anything like that; they can offer lower prices. Plus, the higher price in-store means instant gratification–kind of like people being early technology adopters.

    If people have such a problem paying in-store prices, buy it online. Most places give you a shipping break after a certain price point, and if you’re looking at a place like Circuit City, it’ll probably be over the $25 (or whatever) price point.

    I would like to say that I actually kind of hate Circuit City (another story for another time) but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for an online store to have cheaper prices than the same physical store.

    • floraposte says:

      @ajlei: The problem is that the business entity really, really wants you to consider the online and b&m store to be the same when it suits them, and then it wants to separate them when it doesn’t. Revenue gained from pricing higher in-store doesn’t help when the customer is so pissed off that he leaves rather than buying, which is what happens, and which Circuit City cannot afford. They forgot that the value of an individual transaction only counts when the transaction is actually completed; a theoretical improvement of revenue doesn’t actually get you anything.

  18. twophrasebark says:

    Dear Mr. Maynard,

    As a Circuit City customer, I would respectfully say that I do not give much credence to your “promise” that prices on the web will be the same as in store.

    Circuit City made a similar promise when it began its 24 minute in-store pickup guarantee. To this day many of your employees and managers still do not understand and/or will not honor this promotion.

    I expect similar reports and experiences about this new policy for Circuit City. Your managers simply have no interest in following corporate policies and there is clearly no incentive for them to do so.


  19. Powerlurker says:

    Well, I guess they’ve kinda done this for a while as long as you ordered the items online for pickup in store. My mom once bought my dad a video iPod and found the best deal on Circuit City’s website for pickup in store, and then got a pile of airline miles on top of that by going through Continental’s website (5 miles/$ at the time).

  20. ZukeZuke says:

    I welcome this overdue change. Though I’ve found they honored the (different) website price anyways if you brought in a dated screenshot of the page. It’s just a hassle though, having to check the price of a particular item online before walking into the store.

    I certainly don’t expect CC to match online retailers, buildings, parking lots, & salespeople cost $ after all; but if it’s within 10% of Newegg, I’ll usually buy it local and have it in my hands today. To me, that helps keep the local CC in business (more buying choices) and the sales tax $ helps the local economy.

    Even if I never bought anything from the local CC, I wouldn’t want them to go out of business. If nothing else, it’s a place that you can go in and mess with all the new A/V equipment and computer goodies for free, and then buy it online if the price is outrageously more.

    • Canino says:

      @ZukeZuke: The sales tax helping the local economy is a poor argument for buying locally.

      I can buy item X here in town, say for $50, or buy it online for let’s say $40. Not unusual, you can find plenty of examples where the online price is 80% or less of the retail in-store price.

      I’m in Texas which has a 8.25% sales tax rate, but the local municipality only gets 2%, the other 6.25% goes to the state. So I’m paying $54.13. Of that $4.13 tax, my local city gets $1.00.

      Online I’m paying no sales tax and (usually) no shipping, so total cost remains $40.

      So I’m paying an extra $14.13 so my city can get $1.00.

      It would be better all around, both for me and for the city, for me to buy online and donate 10% of the total savings ($1.41) to the local Economic Development Corporation (EDC). I would save $12.99 after the donation and the local authority would get 41% more than if I had bought locally.

      Run the numbers on anything you can buy at vs. buying it at Best Buy/Circuit City and you’ll find the same thing. Municipalities would actually get more money by encouraging residents to buy elsewhere and donate a small percentage of the savings.

  21. FHJay says:

    All they’ll do is raise the price of the stuff online to match the ridiculously high in store prices. Not that it matters, they don’t have anything worth buying in store anyway.

    I really like this bit: “One Price Promise assures Circuit City shoppers that they will be treated fairly and equally regardless of how they shop with us.” It pretty much acknowledges that prior to the One Price Promise Circuit City treated you unfairly.

  22. Micromegas says:

    The only thing that Circuit City and Best Buy are good for is checking out the latest electronics in person so you can go home and buy them for a fraction of the price from an online-exclusive retailer.

  23. ErasmusAndreus says:

    “extensive research” ??? They really had to do extensive research to figure this one out? No wonder they are in trouble.

  24. tinyrobot says:

    Wait… does this mean we have to explain to the employees what the Internets are now? Man, that could take hours. So much for efficient shopping.

  25. wiley14 says:

    HUH? My local CC has _always_ matched online prices for me. I just take a print out in (or pull it up on my PDA).

    • Absent minded or just absent says:

      @wiley14: I’m a bit surprised by this too. In fact, I thought it was already their policy. Last Christmas season I found a very well priced camcorder at CC online, and I found it at the store priced around $100 more. I told them the price online, the salesperson brought up the webpage to check, then sold it to me at that price.

  26. Bush2008 says:

    Basically some 65% of price matches were to our own website. It was pretty annoying.

  27. fisherstudios says:

    On the bright side this means that when you walk into their store you don’t wonder if you could have gotten a better deal from them had you bought the same item from their online store.

    Of course, if you shop online you can probably find a better price for the same item from another retailer anyways…

  28. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    Yeah, from this now CC is now raising online prices and lowering in-store prices to a “middle” price.

  29. bravo369 says:

    i recently bought an lcd tv and price shopped online. Circuit city had the cheapest price so i went there. I get there and see the tv for $150 more. I talk to the worker and tell him it’s cheaper online and his answer…oh, we’ll match that! no duh you’re going to match an advertised price but what happens to the next guy who walks up and ends up buying it for the sticker price. as far as i’m concerned, there should be class action lawsuits if a advertised website price is not matched in the store.

  30. EmperorOfCanada says:

    Sorry if this has already been said but.. doesn’t this mean they will raise the online prices to match the store prices? =p

  31. cromartie says:

    I’ll miss the irony of coming to the store, seeing an item costs more, talking to a salesperson, then ordering an item online using a Circuit City display PC, walking over to the 30 minutes or less counter and picking it up.

    Of course, after that stunt where they fired every salesperson with a clue for making too much money, I stop shopping there anyway…..

  32. robotrousers says:

    Too little too late. Plus, who really believes they’re going to honor this deal without a crapload of hassle? I think they’ve burned too many bridges to get customers to come back.

  33. XTC46 says:

    this just means they will raise their online prices. More profit for them.

  34. Michael Belisle says:

    Hey, that’s a brilliant idea! But how’s your stock doing, CC?

    37¢/share? Down 99% since 2000?

  35. gatewaytoheaven says:

    This isn’t surprising. Fry’s still doesn’t match their online price to the store. Their rationale is that the online store reflects national pricing whereas the stores represent their general local area.

    The only way around it to order the item (often done at the store) and select in-store pickup, wait about half an hour, and then get it at the cheaper price.

  36. phixional-ninja says:

    I just have to say, as a relatively new Best Buy employee (approximately four months, not fed up…yet), I haven’t found evidence of any shady practices regarding online prices. Maybe it’s just my store, but I have never had a problem price matching when we have a lower price online. We even price match Circuit City’s site, which apparently is better than they’ve been doing until now.

    As far as fake websites on store computers go, again no evidence yet. When I get a customer who claims to have seen a different price online than comes up on through a store machine, I take them over and check the site on an Apple laptop which I’ve installed Vidalia on to get online through the Tor network. If Best Buy corporate is capable of interfering with that connection, they’ve got one up on the Chinese government.

  37. wdnobile says:

    They should call it “One Overinflated Price”. No one shops at “Circuit Shitty” because you pay 30-40% more there than you do anywhere else. I went there for the first time in a long time to browse.

    Saw a broken display model of my now discontinued G15 keyboard. Its cord had been cut right off. Asked about buying it for the replacement keys. Manager said he’d mark it down for me to “70.00”. Screw them. never again. Bought a brand new one for 4 bucks more online.

  38. AnonymousFinger says:

    I just bought a Samsung 52″ 1080p 120Hz (4ms) LCD from Circuit City. (I wanted it that day, I know it would have been less online) When I checked the price online, it was $2299. When I went to the store to buy it, it was $2599. I told the sales guy it was $2299 online, he went and checked and said he could sell it at that price. Are there really people out there who do not check prices online before shopping? If you can afford a $2300 TV, but don’t have internet, you deserve to get screwed.

  39. icy_one says:

    This is not the same thing as Best Buy setting up an internal website that has different prices. Circuit City actually offers “online-only” specials and even marks them as such to say you can only get this price if you order online. Then they’ll have a low inventory and sell out online but you can still go to the store and buy it for the higher price.

    This announcement is the end to THAT practice, not the internal website garbage Best Buy scams you with.

  40. vdragonmpc says:

    NEWSFLASH: Circuit City finds that customers hate getting ripped off!! CEO gets massive bonus for declaring “We will honor our own posted prices! Not only that but in our synergistic approach to customer service and satisfaction we will follow our own policies in stores, even the ones on the walls!”

    –You know even with sarcasm it doesnt work. They are so going out of business.

  41. Maglet says:


    Their prices should be the same online that they are in the stores anyway. Big whoop that they decided that now was the time to make that happen.

    I hate how these companies try to pretend like they’re giving us, the consumers, an advantage when this is the way it should have been in the first place!

    Not just fail… ESTUPIDO FAIL!

  42. Jabberkaty says:

    “Will this be thing that saves Circuit City?”

    My guess would be… no.

  43. BoomerFive says:

    I think this is a bad idea…you could easily have a slightly lower web price with a bigger margin due to the low overhead on most items, then everybody wins.

  44. feeheelee says:

    It’s as if they sat down and had a meeting to try and think of something big and extreme to make people take notice again… They clearly couldn’t think of anything so they are repackaging a policy that is already in place and making it a nationwide, multi-million dollar campaign…

    You go Circuit City, go get ’em!!!

  45. SherwinMaia says:

    This may be the death knell for Circuit City. Most people never even knew that Circuit City charged different prices online and at retail stores. This is like advertising that they’ve been ripping people off in the past.