Target Asks Vendors To Help Combat Store-As-Showroom Problem

A quick skim through the response to any story about major retailers like Best Buy, Target, Sears and others will find a growing number of people talking about how they use these bricks-and-mortar stores as places to go check out a product in person before going to purchase it for less online. In an attempt to combat this trend, Target has written its biggest suppliers for help.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the letter sent last week from Target HQ says that one of the ways to fight “showrooming” is for manufacturers to create specific product lines that would only be sold at bricks-and-mortar locations, meaning that shoppers could not do any truly accurate comparison shopping since there won’t be the exact item available elsewhere.

“What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands,” reads the letter, signed by the retailer’s CEO and its Executive VP of Merchandising.

Analysts tell the Journal that at least some of the suppliers will be compelled to play ball with Target’s plan, given the sheer size of the chain. Even so, some believe that Target exclusives will not be sufficient to win over the large number of shoppers who will choose a lower price point over whatever vendors do to make the in-store purchases more appealing.

Showdown Over ‘Showrooming’ [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. sqlrob says:

    Wait a minute. Don’t they already do this (at least Best Buy and Wal-Mart)?

    • philpm says:

      Exactly, lets market for the least common denominator so they can’t compare and figure out that our stuff is complete crap.

      • Jawaka says:

        If the product was complete crap then why would you be purchasing it in the first place?

        This article is about using Target as a showroom for things that you ultimately purchase online.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      I thought they had identical products with different serial numbers to get around price matching. (“It’s not the same product because the serial numbers don’t match. No price match for you!”)

    • Starfury says:

      When we were looking for a TV we shopped Costco…the model numbers on their TVs were ONLY for Costco. Nobody else sold the same model TV even though the features are the exact same as a different model.

      Still bought a TV from Amazon…with the warranty it was the same price as the TV before taxes in CA.

      • balderdashed says:

        Samsung and other electronics manufacturers make some TVs, blu-ray players, etc., that you’ll find at Costco, Sam’s Club or online, and not at Best Buy — but in many cases, only the model number is different, and Samsung won’t even bother printing a separate owner’s manual: the manual even applies to both models, as will any firmware updates, etc. This allows Best Buy to claim that it’s not being undersold, which is only technically true. I’m not sure if Target is simply asking manufacturers to take the deception one step further (to change the location of a knob, or add or subtract a minor feature or two), or what’s going on. In any case, I think Target may be exaggerating the effect of “show-rooming” on its sales, particularly of higher end merchandise. Target’s selection of electronics is so abysmal that it’s hard to imagine anyone who’s planning to buy online at Amazon even bothering with a visit.

      • MickeyMoo says:

        Apple used to do this “back in the day” when they sold Performa computers at Montgomery Wards and Sears – Wards would sell a Performa475 Money Magazine edition at Wards (or something along those lines) and a comparable but different model at Sears to avoid price matching requests.

      • bluline says:

        That’s common throughout the consumer electronics industry.

    • impatientgirl says:

      They already do this for electronics like TVs which is why their “price match” never really works. If they start doing this with things like toasters and microwaves then no one will have to price match.

  2. legion says:

    Perhaps I’m just not brain-damaged enough to be in marketing, but wouldn’t it make more sense to make your system more flexible in matching online prices? Rather than, you know, deliberately pissing your few remaining customers off by restricting what they can actually purchase? Did these guys all get fired from Sears or something?

    • Costner says:

      How do you match the prices on online retailers when online retailers don’t have the same costs associated with stores?

      Both types of stores have warehouses and inventory – but one has all the expense provided with a brick and mortar location. There is no way Target (or Best Buy, Walmart, Kmart, Sears et al) can ever match Amazon or Newegg in all prices because their expenses are so much higher.

      • legion says:

        True. The sensible thing then would be for Target, et al, to make some serious changes to their business plans and actually _adapt_ to the new environment they find themselves in before they go completely bankrupt. Apparently, that hasn’t occurred to them yet…

        • Murph1908 says:

          Isn’t that what they are trying to do?

          If this were as simple of an issue as you are making it out to be, it wouldn’t be an issue.

        • Talisker says:

          Yep. Any of the big retailers had the chance to be the next Amazon or Newegg, but Target and Best Buy and Sear and Barnes & Noble all dropped the ball when it came to focusing on their online presence. With the right people in place ten or fifteen years ago we could be going to or for the things we are going to Amazon and Newegg for today.

          They could have had their stores be the showroom for their online stores, while also selling goods that people tend to want to buy in person like clothes and groceries.

          They screwed up. They invested in buggy whips and blacksmiths while the rest of the world was buying cars.

        • Bunnies Attack! says:

          This statement doesn’t make any sense. No matter what these chains did, they would never be able to compete with Amazon unless they went ahead and overnight closed all their stores and laid off all their employees. Right off the bat, Amazon had cheaper prices. If Bestbuy opened up a site and offered everything exactly the same as amazon except 10% more expensive, guess what, they’d be exactly where they are now.

          These are 2 different business models with fundamentally different costs. You can’t just “adapt” without becoming one or the other. Amazon can’t start offering showrooms without opening stores and therefore increasing prices. Bestbuy can’t offer the same prices as Amazon without reducing overhead.

      • scottydog says:

        Correct, CNBC aired a documentary on Best Buy last week and their costs are about 10% higher on average than online retailers because of the costs associated with their stores, IE. rent and employees. This is why Amazon can always be cheaper and why they won’t match online prices because to do so would result in them loosing money on the purchase.

        • Gehasst says:

          If only they could provide the customer service that amazon does…maybe then they might actually win over some consumers…

          • Bunnies Attack! says:

            … then they would match amazon but still cost 10% more. Again, Amazon wins. I don’t understand why its so hard for people to understand that.

        • balderdashed says:

          If their costs are 10 percent higher, why are Best Buy’s prices in many cases 20 to 30 percent higher? I just went to Best Buy’s home page, clicked on Smart TV’s and Devices, then on the link for Smart TVs, and sorted by New Arrivals. The first item listed was a 55 inch LED TV for $1,699.00 — the same item is $1249.98 at Amazon, or more than 25 per less. And that comparison doesn’t event count the additional profit Best Buy hopes to make on overpriced HDMI cables and ridiculous service plans. I might pay 10 percent more to shop in a comfortable environment staffed by knowledgable individuals. But I won’t pay 25 percent more to deal with the level of service that is typical at Best Buy.

      • Tegan says:

        Fry’s matches online prices, but they definitely don’t have as huge of a B&M presence as Best Buy/Target/Walmart. I’ve never had them hassle me over it, either. I still buy from Newegg for big items that I don’t need immediately, but Fry’s certainly gets lots of my business. I think my boyfriend and I have been twice a week for the last month or so just for various items. I swear it has nothing to do with us just wanting to walk through and look at all the shiny things we want :)

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        Then they have to emphasis their strengths:
        – no extrashipping costs
        – instant delivery/ no waiting for shipping
        – knowledgeable staff (LOL)

        • incident_man says:

          Exactly. Note to brick and mortar stores: stop paying your staff minimum wage and hire people who know their stuff and have passion for the job, rather than just using any excuse to empty your wallet even further (yes, I’m talking to you, Best Buy). Build some VALUE in the experience you provide, and folks will have no problem paying the extra cost to get REAL help. As long as they hire folks who are simply “camping out” until something better comes along and insist on paying them as little as possible, big box retailers will continue to lose customers to online sites because there’s no compelling reason for customers to spend their money otherwise.

          • JennQPublic says:

            “Build some VALUE in the experience you provide, and folks will have no problem paying the extra cost to get REAL help.”

            This is demonstrably false. We used to have locally-owned appliance and electronics stores, that hired experts at a wage that one could support a family on, and frequently provided benefits. But when chain stores came in, hiring teenage idiots and undercutting the prices of established businesses, people shopped at the local store but bought from the cheap one. Just like they’re doing today with brick & mortar stores and online retailers.

    • sirwired says:

      All that retail space, and the people to staff it, must be paid for. If Target can’t pay those costs with what an online vendor would charge for the item, they need some solution.

      • failurate says:

        I read that as Target saying they cannot compete on price or quality and are tired of trying.

        • Jawaka says:

          Price yes, quality no. Its the same product whether you purchase it from Target or from Amazon. And yeah, Target and other retailers do have a problem matching online prices. Online companies don’t have nearly the amount of rent, employees and utilities to pay for so their prices can be lower. You may ask why you should care? Well when all of the local businesses close down and you’re paying 50% higher taxes I’m sure you’ll care. I’m sure that you also appreciate being able to walk into a store and instantly walk out with a product in your hands when you’re in a hurry rather than have to wait for something to be delivered.

          • RandomHookup says:

            One way to do it is to price match with shipping included. That may not work with the Amazon Prime crowd, but they have already laid money down for their shipping ahead of time.

            • Jawaka says:

              That still doesn’t reduce the over head that brick and mortar stores has to pay for rent, employees and utilities.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      @legion; absolutely this is exactly what these CEOs should be thinking. But modern day CEOs only concern themselves with one thing; money. It’s all about their yearly bonus’s that they get. They could give a rats about customers these days.

    • regis-s says:

      If you have a way for a brick and mortar store to sell merchandise for the same or less than an on-line store and still make a profit you should let them know. I’m sure you could name your own price.

      • Alessar says:

        Here’s the thing. If I can buy item X on Best Buy’s website (ex: a $135 video card, not on sale just regular price) and pick it up in the store, why should Best Buy sell it in-store for $20 more? That video card was actually $115 at I was willing to pay $20 more than Newegg to get it immediately, when I walked in the physical store and saw it was $40 more I was stunned. I can’t see their instore price as being anything but marked up. (For the record, I didn’t buy it then; I took my netbook to the pancake house across the street and bought it online and enjoyed pancakes until it was ready to pick up.)

        For years, stores like Sears and JCPenny have had a catalog business and the catalog price and the instore price are the same, barring sales. I don’t mind some minor variations, but a lot of retail stores are far off.

        I’m particularly surprised Target has this complaint. The last time I looked at something on their web site it was a tea kettle that was $40 plus shipping. The in-store price was $28.

    • Hobz says:

      What Target has not taken the time to do is provide synergy between their brick and mortar stores and their online store. If people are going to Target to browse the item and then going home to buy it, why not price match on the Target website from the store they are already at.

      Place kiosks in Target that allow the shopper to purchase the item from Targets online store at the better online price and have the item shipped to the customers home. Heck you could make it real easy buy letting the shopper swipe their credit card at the kiosk. I think Kohl’s does something similar to this.

      This way they at least get the sale and they could possibly cross sell items in the store with adds during the checkout process.

      • Htsob72 says:

        No, no, no. Ridiculous. This whole “internet” thing is just a big fad, anyways. It’ll be over in a year.

        –Gotta love when these morons (music industry, film industry, book industry, now, I guess, retail industry) just refuse to acknowledge technology and the way people buy things. So amazing to me that they think it is still 1950.

  3. MutantMonkey says:

    “…to create specific product lines that would only be sold at bricks-and-mortar locations, meaning that shoppers could not do any truly accurate comparison shopping since there won’t be the exact item available elsewhere”

    ROFL! Are these people not aware of the internet and how easy it would be to get around something like this?

    Maybe coming up with a legitimate rewards program for your customers is a smarter way of handling this. Sure it may cost you more, but it would help you retain your market share and potentially convert if the program is good enough.

    • Christopher Wilson says:

      with amazon having free returns and no restocking fees, I have no problem going for the model that seems the same with a different model # and taking my chances rather than pay the in store price. They should find a better solution than this.

      • StarKillerX says:

        True and a lot of people will do that, but most people probably wouldn’t even realize that it was the same models.

        • bigTrue says:

          Those people are called “stupid” and are allowed to choke on their own tongues as they try to breathe.

  4. comedian says:

    Sears used to be well known for this, offering products with slightly different part numbers that made direct comparisons difficult.

    The simple response was to build cross-reference from the Sears specific part numbers to the mainstream equivalent models. And while there were very few, if any, unique features on the retailer-specific model number, the general chassis and underlying major components were the same no matter where you made your purchase.

    When your business model requires emulating early 1990’s Sears’ business practices, you are in big trouble indeed.

    • Cat says:

      “offering products with slightly different part numbers that made direct comparisons difficult.”

      Not just Sears. Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. All may carry the same identical product, with different part numbers, or even different brand names. This allows them to avoid any sort of price matching whatsoever.

      • cowboyesfan says:

        Lowes and Home Depot seldom carry identical products. Very few brands are available at both chains.

        • quail says:

          The hysterical part is that not all items are available at all stores within their chains either. Got to a HD in Oklahoma, Georgia, & NY. Different shopping experience at each. My best HD experience was during the housing boom when I shopped at a HD in GA. Truly a sawdust head’s Nirvana.

    • Todd says:

      Yes, this is a common practice with appliances. Lowe’s, Home Despot, Sears will all carry a similar Whirlpool washing machine, but the Lowe’s model has an extra rinse setting, Home Despot’s model with have an extra cycle, and the Sears model will have an extra cycle or something along those lines.

    • alexwade says:

      Very common with computers too. The exact same computer will have a different model number at each store so that the store does not have to price-match. “That sale price is the HP dv9830a, our model is dv9835b.”

  5. Clyde Barrow says:

    “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands,” reads the letter, signed by the retailer’s CEO and its Executive VP of Merchandising.

    Guess what “retailer’s CEO and its Executive VP of Merchandising”, whether you like it or not, this is life and there ain’t a damn thing you or anyone can do about it. Customer’s have been shopping like this for decades. So people shop and then buy on-line? Big deal. Does this CEO think that folks weren’t doing this forty years ago walking from mall to mall? This guy is speculating and assuming he/she has power over customers and this is not the case. And by the way, how does he even know the “who, what, why, and when” a customer comes into a store just to “window shop?”. Unless this person can read minds, I’d say nada!

    • markvii says:

      For me, it’s “deja vu all over again”. Long before the internet and Amazon, people would shop the B&M stores, then find the same item cheaper in a mail order catalog and buy it there. There’s never going to be a solution to the shopper who’s going to flock to whoever has the lowest price.

      I’ve always said that the B&M retailers need to distinguish themselves via a superior shopping experience. They can attract the value-oriented shopper who doesn’t mind paying a reasonable price premium to deal with a helpful person.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Oh no, omg. Competition!, That’s not fair now I’ll have to compete for business. Oh the humanity.

    • josephbloseph says:

      You seem to have not actually read even the consumerist post, let alone the actual linked article. You say there is nothing he can do about it, what they are suggesting they do about it would actually work to an extent. If they do get manufacturers (they aren’t trying to exert power directly over customers, mind you, rather the manufacturers who count *them* as customers) to produce specific product lines or models for brick-and-mortar, that would prevent a customer from being able to order the same model online, because that model would not be available online. A customer willing to do enough legwork might be able to determine that the 5900AB is the same as the 5950YZ in terms of refresh rate and color depth, differing only in number of HDMI inputs, and make use of a brick and mortar store as a showroom, but a lot of people are going to be stymied when they punch in the model, and only get hits for walmart, target, etc.

  6. pop top says:

    That’s what mattress retailers do; they have different names for each mattress style from showroom to showroom so that you can’t do 100% perfect price comparison.

    • Karney says:

      That reminds me, I need to get a Bob-o-pedic!

    • thesalad says:

      And if you ask for spesifics in the show room you get blank stares.
      Well how many springs does this one have: UHHHH um.. that’s not important
      How thick is the Memory Foam on top of the foam core: Um… uhhh.. Not Important
      Isn’t this Sealy Foam Plush Super Matress the same as teh Super Foam Plush Matress: UH Um NO THEY ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT.. OURS IS WELL WORTH THE $200 more!!!

    • 180CS says:

      Squinko, that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this post too. Except I wonder if they will have as easy of a time with this? Right now, Target could simply use their own UPC overlays to try and stop people with bar-code scanners. Beyond that though, I think they will have a much harder time with this than mattress stores had way back when.

  7. radparker says:

    Here’s the thing, when we went to Target last to pick up a space heater, I scanned the UPC to look up online reviews to choose between the three different ones Target had in stock. If the model numbers and UPC codes didn’t match, I wouldn’t have bee able to look anything up easily, and I wouldn’t have purchased from Target. So I guess it works both ways.

    • Kevin411 says:

      Exactly the point I was going to make. I use Amazon’s iPhone app to scan almost everything I buy to see if it is well reviewed, to see other options, and to be sure the price is reasonably in line with other pricing. If the store has it for $30 and Amazon has it for $25, but I pay shipping and/or wait a week to get it. I’ll usually choose to buy in the store. If the store is double the price I may not, but more than that I’m looking for online reviews.

  8. ThinkingBrian says:

    This is old news, they already do this and so does Best Buy and Walmart. Best Buy has Sony Vaios notebooks that can’t be bought anywhere else, Target has clothing, along with even Taylor Swift music that is exclusive and Walmart also has special exclusive items too. And yet here we are.

    Personally, do I use Target, Best Buy and Walmart as showrooms for buying online? Yes, but it depends upon price and when it need the item. I will only buy online if the price is so different its terrible. Example, I bought something online and saved $50. But I will and have bought stuff from these store on a regular basis.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      True that certain notebooks can’t be bought everywhere, but a little research into a laptop can tell a person what they’re getting. The insides of that laptop won’t differ so much that I cannot shop around.

    • parv says:

      Target (Hilo, HI) may have exclusive brands of men’s clothing, but in comparison Sears & Walmart offerings seemingly would last longer.

  9. Rick Sphinx says:

    This type of thing has been done for years. I’ve seen items at your local hardware store, then at the big box home center for less, but there is a difference in the product and model number usually. I have seen door knobs, with same model number and same UPC code, but with different quality item inside the package. Gas grills years ago, don’t know about today, used to be at hardware store with stainless steel grates, at home center with wroght iron grills, which will rust. So you get what you pay for quite often. Electronic stores have done this for years also, changing the model number from 1234 to 1234b. It may be hard to find, but your sure to find an important difference at the lower priced place.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      I have seen door knobs, with same model number and same UPC code, but with different quality item inside the package

      That’s actually far worse than having different retailers having different model numbers. Way to ruin a brand image by selling the same product with different levels of quality.

  10. Paul in SF says:

    Best Buy has been doing this for a long time. They have manufacturers label their products with an ID that is specific only to Best Buy, so that buyers can not comparison shop. They have also turned it around, so that when they use the same product ID as other vendors, the specifications for that model sold through Best Buy are less than the same item sold by other retailers. For example a laptop model XX2X might normally have 4 GB of memory when sold everywhere but Best Buy, but only 2 GB when sold by BB.

    • xyzzyman says:

      I’d like to actually see an example of this with laptops. I’ve seen people only look at the first part of the laptop model # which is the series but forget the second half which is the model. Changing specs on the model # would cause problems when you went to look up memory grades, etc…

      • nautox says:

        Best Buy will use the prefix of the model number, say Asus G73SW, but then add some suffix after it that WILL HAVE LOWER SPECS THAN THE NORMAL ONE! Beware, they will put a lesser quality video card, or same Video card with lower quality screen. So you have to check the specs to make sure you know what you are getting.
        On the flip side, I’ve heard of guys buying the best buy laptop with lower res screen and then buying the higher res screen off ebay for $100 and saving $300+ that way.

    • scoutermac says:

      I have only seen this at Walmart.

    • xyzzyman says:

      I’d like to actually see an example of this with laptops. I’ve seen people only look at the first part of the laptop model # which is the series but forget the second half which is the model. Changing specs on the model # would cause problems when you went to look up memory grades, etc… It also would break SPL (Service Part Lists). So I know it’s not taking place with Acer, Gateway, eMachines, HP, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba & Sony laptops. Those are the only brands I deal with though in those respects.

      • RStormgull says:

        I have an Asus G73JH sold to me from Best Buy. (I know, i know). The version sold in Best Buy has 6GB ram and DVD Supermulti. The version of this laptop sold outside of Best Buy has 8GB ram and Blu-Ray. What I should have done was left BB and bought online to get the higher spec model, but I was leaving the country a few days after the purchase and needed a desktop replacement.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      You can still comparison shop, it just isn’t as instant as pulling up a website with Invisible Hand in your browser.

      Costco’s TVs are slightly different models from “mainline” Samsung or Panasonic, but the details are minor. It might be a different color bezel, or one less HDMI port. Samsung isn’t going to design a different LED panel for the LN51D6000 “mainline” TV than the LN51D6100 Costco version. If the 6000 has good picture quality, so does the 6100.

      Computers are even easier. Every part has a spec. Screen resolution. Processer power. Amount of RAM and speed. Hard drive size and speed. You can very easily compare an ASUS laptop on Newegg to an “exclusive” Best Buy model by comparing specs. The biggest difference used to be that the Newegg ASUS laptops had a 2-year warranty vs. the 1-year at Best Buy. Gotta sell those warranties I guess.

  11. scoutermac says:

    Walmart already does this. Also this is how mattresses are sold.

  12. kooly says:

    Very short-sighted of Target. They are missing a huge opportunity to hook the show-roomers with some fantastic impulse or convenience purchases. If someone actually sets foot in your store, you can still make a profit by selling them kitty litter or chocolate-covered pretzels.
    While Mr.Kooly was checking out the features of a high-end electronic gadget, I was checking out a cart full of household needs…. that wasn’t too hard to figure out now was it Target marketing people?

    • Sad Sam says:

      I agree, if I’m in a Target I’m going to buy something. I might be doing research but I will still end up picking something up because I can’t resist Target stuff (which is why I mostly stay away from all stores, too much temptation).

      • MrEvil says:

        Not only that, but the items you end up purchasing usually have a higher margin than the TV itself. At least TVs were low margin items when I worked at Best Buy.

    • quieterhue says:

      Such a key point. Yeah, some people may look at a camera in the store and the decide to purchase from a cheaper vendor online, but the fact is, you got this person in the store, and they probably picked up a DVD, toothpaste, laundry detergent and other essentials while there. Or maybe they just decided that it wasn’t worth the $10 savings to buy the camera on the web and instead bought it there and then in the store. Don’t give your customers a reason NOT to go into the store.

      • nautox says:

        You’re dead on right! Remember this place called Circuit City that was about to put Best Buy out of business about 15-20 years ago? Yeah, they got rid of all their appliances because they weren’t making much money off of them. It’s now a retail 101 no brainer to have appliances in the store to give people a reason to show up to your store and impulse buy.
        It’s the only thing Sears hasn’t screwed up (yet)

    • Overheal says:

      If you think chocolate-covered pretzels are keeping Target out of liquidation, you need to take a look in the mirror.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      @Overheal; actually many of those items are exactly what keeps businesses in business. These items, many times, have the highest profit margin which is why they are sitting in register aisle, smiling at you, and waiting for you to pick it up.

  13. SmokeyBacon says:

    Interesting, I don’t think of Target as a place to do this kind of thing – Best Buy, sure, but not Target. I guess I think of it as more of a paper towels and shampoo kind of place, not a place to get the kind of stuff I would shop around that much for (and it is 5 minutes from my house, so it is nice and easy to get to when you are running low on something).

  14. Hitchcock says:

    Costco has done this successfully for years. Even when offering a product that can be purchased elsewhere, they often bundle it with accessories in the same package. Since accessories often have insane markup, it allows them to offer what appears to be a better value as they can take the “discount” out of the high margin goods, while maintaining a good margin on the whole kit.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      Costco does this mostly with Apple products & cellphones due to restrictions on price cutting that would cause the manufacturer to cut them off if they went & cut the price.

  15. Bob Lu says:

    It is just not a new thing. It also kills price matching.

    Point is you have to be big enough to make manufacturers willing to build a specific model for you, and your name have to be good enough for your store specific models are not seen as the subpar, nerfed models of the “real” things.

  16. dcarrington01 says:

    OR…. How about lowering your prices and make it comparable to the internets. When you sell something for $30 and I can get it ff the interwebs shipped to my house for $20 less, and NOT have to deal with the apathetic, incompetent employees, I might shop more at your store!

    • KyBash says:

      Yeah, and what’s with having those stores in high-tax, high-rent, easy-to-access locations when they can rent a warehouse out in the sticks for 1/12 the cost? Don’t they know how wasteful that is?

      And what about having all those clerks on the payroll? Don’t they know they can sell five times as much with one-tenth the staff if they only hire non-union people in the boonies who are happy to make minimum wage?

      • Overheal says:

        Be less ridiculous with your argument please.

        These big box stores live in these expensive shopping complexes because – surprise – people shop in shopping complexes. Do you think World Market would make it as a company if you had to drive 20 minutes down a dirt road to get to it?

        The reason the land is so expensive is because the simple fact of being a place to shop, makes it expensive. Shops set up in commercially zoned areas and by virtue of their own existence create their own rent expense.

        Also nobody is Unionized in these big box stores so I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. A lot of these stores are understaffed as it is. Try walking into a Best Buy computer department and see how long the average wait time is to speak with someone about a computer. When you have 2 salesmen and 10 customers, it’s simple math.

    • Costner says:

      A store cannot lower its prices to compete with “the Internets” and remain in business, because they have a lot higher costs.

      Everything from leases on the building, to employee salaries, to the electric bill to keep the lights on, to the amount of product walking out in jackets of shoplifters – it all costs them money and it must be recovered somehow.

      When you shop in a B&M store, you are paying a premium to have the product there and readily available. You are paying for convenience.

      Chances are if you find yourself in need of a 18 roll pack of Charmin, you are willing to spend a few bucks more to have it today rather than ordering it online and waiting three days for it to arrive. Can’t blame a store for attempting to recover some of their costs and continue to make a profit now can we?

      • dcarrington01 says:

        Not saying the need to completely match the Internets, but that they shouldn’t be raping me over stuff I can get on the Internets. Case in point: I took our wedding rings to a local jeweler to have them tune them up, fix the little posts that hod the diamonds in and so forth. Since I have only one ring, wanted to get a “beater ring” (cheap ringthat could get beaten up, lost what-have you). I looked at their tungsten carbide rings. $225 each! Now in the store pulled up amazon on my iPhone, and found the same ring/same manufacturer, for $20. So I bought that one.
        I understand they need to make a profit to stay in business, and I am all for that. However, like I said marking the price up $200 on a $20 ring, is a bit much. Where’s the Vaseline…….

    • Cacao says:

      Sure, buy it on the interwebs. But I hope it’s not fragile, because the Fedex (/UPS/USPS) driver will throw the box over the fence.

  17. Doubting thomas says:

    So the problem is that the OP made an informed and consensual deal with ticketmaster. Then when she tried to reneg on the deal and get a new one ticketmaster met her halfway and refunded the price of the non-refundable tickets she purchased. However because she threatened to go to her cc company and reverse all the charges they decided that she might not be the kind of customer they wanted to keep? Where is the problem. I hate dealing with ticketmaster and would likely skip any event that required me to deal with them. However if i were to go ahead and purchase a batch of non refundable fees from them (in order to get the free ticket they throw in with each purchase of fee bundles) that would be my problem.
    If more businesses chose not to deal with scammers and problem customers then there would be fewer costs passed on to legitimate, reasonable consumers.

  18. Mellowtunes says:

    Why don’t Target and Walmart stop carrying inventory at stores and literally become a showroom with an internet terminal (to their website). That would reduce costs and footprint of the stores (only need one or two demo units per item) and drive sales to online where they could be cheaper for both the consumer and store.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      You could call it “Service Merchandise” or something.

    • daynight says:

      That only means that they pay for (smaller) store while having the same price (income) as a web-only retailer. So they undercut themselves. They only get the sale if it happens at the store, even if it is at a kiosk. If the person goes home, they will buy from the online retailer that she like best, perhaps because of other items that were not being displayed at the physical store.’
      Bottom line: it costs more to run a brick and mortar store. The only way to rise about that cost is to offer something different worth paying for. That is tough to do. It is a real challenge. That is why these brick and mortars are having troubles and closing down. Soon there will be no ‘showrooms’ to abuse.

  19. maxamus2 says:

    Sure, that’s the ticket, disenfranchise shopperseven more.

  20. Firevine says:

    So, they come up with, lets say, a specific in-store only coffee grinder that I like. It’s $50. I’m not necessarily going to spend that $50 on that specific coffee grinder. I’m going to find something similar, for cheaper, and get that one instead.

    This isn’t adapting to succeed. It’s sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away.

  21. El_Fez says:

    The soultion seems simple to me: if you cant beat the prices, be awesome in the customer service! But then I’m not a million dollar CEO, so what do I know?

    • MelToup√© says:

      I second the motion. When I am buying a big-ticket item like a TV, I’d rather buy it locally. If there is a problem, I want to be able to exchange it quickly, and not wait for shipping turnaround. I am willing to pay more for this. But it means that the store has to have superior customer service‚Äì they have to make it fast and foolproof. If they can do that, it’s worth a few extra bucks.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      @El_Fez; you apparently know more than the million dollar CEO.

    • webweazel says:

      Let’s take an example of Best Buy from just what has been read on these pages-
      “No, we don’t have any laptops that are not optomized for an extra $49.95.” *hides stock with his body* “Your TV cannot read the signals correctly unless the signals go through these $500 gold-plated Monster Cables.” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” “Do you want an extended warranty with that?” Checkout- “Do you want to sign up for a Best Buy credit card” “How about a Best Buy rewards card?” “How about a Best Buy rewards credit card”” “Do you want to sign up for our newsletter?” “Do you want to sign up for our email sale alerts?” Door checker- “HEY You damned CRIMINAL! Even though I watched the complete transaction from my spot here by the door—I need to check your receipt–scumbag!” Won’t even get into Geek Squad here, too much to list.

      When it could be–
      “Welcome to Best Buy. Can I help you find anything? We’re having a great sale on__ today.” “Yes, all our computers are just as they are from the factory. If you wish, we could add a recovery disk for you for an extra $5. We have a bunch in stock” “Your TV is digital. It’s ones and zeros. Either it picks up signals or it doesn’t. These $10 cables will work just fine.” Checkout- “Did you find everything you needed today or have any questions for our tech department?” Door checker- “Do you need help getting that to your car?” or “Have a great day, thanks for coming to Best Buy.” Geek Squad- Two hour turnaround on software-related issues, 24 hours for hardware related, or the price is halved.

      If they want people back in their stores, they need to cut out the bullshit and constant hassle, employee tech ignorance and outright boldfaced lies, and the threat of firing if they don’t sign up a certain amount of SUCKERS (through backhanded tactics) to their various promotions which only benefit THEM.

  22. Geekybiker says:

    As much as I love the tax free online purchases (yes use tax, I know) They have to fix the tax problem before any of this will be solved. Tax vs no tax is enough to sway a purchase.

  23. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sure, but the better versions will be available online.

  24. EllenRose says:

    Newegg is a great place to shop on-line. Micro Center is a great place to shop in person. About two times out of three, I buy the stuff at Micro Center. BOTH places have great service, and good prices, so saving the three or four days of waiting is worth it.

    See, the trick is to have salespeople who actually know about the things they’re selling. The dialogue helps me decide exactly what I want, and that’s something I can’t get from Newegg.

    Brick and mortar has advantages; the internet has advantages. Best Buy, on the other hand, does not; and I’m not so sure about Target.

    • neilb says:

      Since moving to Cincinnati, I have made my first and only electronics purchases at a brick-and-mortar store because of MicroCenter. Either Microcenter is losing money or everyone else is doing something wrong. They have gotten incremental purchases from me with every loss leader and I am happy with the overall transaction. It makes the world a better and more efficient place, shopping-wise.

      I don’t look forward to Target taking an elegant/efficient system and breaking it for protectionism. Mattress buying is the worst system ever for just this reason! It makes the world a worse and less-efficient place for everyone.

      • nybiker says:

        I don’t there ‘s a Microcenter here in NYC, so I do not know about it. But the mattress problem seems like it’s due to the fact that they don’t make money on volume, but rather each sale. I buy a computer more often than I buy a mattress. But you are correct that even that process was no fun (the mattress buying one).

    • psm321 says:

      If only Microcenter would open a store that isn’t 50 minutes away from me…

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      @EllenRose; Nice post and well written.

    • Dave on bass says:

      I love MicroCenter, except that their prices sometimes are oddly high. Still, they have huge selection and a liberal return policy, so when I burned through 4 or 5 keyboards for living room TV PC setup, trying to find just the right one, MC was a joy to deal with. Many times I’ll go there to do the showroom thing, only to end up buying there anyway.

  25. Outrun1986 says:

    There are forums like avs forums where they take different TV’s and figure out the differences between them. The information is usually right there in the open if you are willing to look for it.

    Also if I can’t find the model number anywhere else other than the store website, then I have to assume its a made-for-store x item. Thus that item is probably of lower quality than the one that can be found on Amazon and several other retailer’s websites. Thus I will not be purchasing that item. I will be purchasing the one that is available everywhere even if it costs a little more especially when its a larger item that I expect to last not die in 1-2 years or die right before the warranty is up. You get what you pay for.

    Also this would make a TV or other electronics harder to service wouldn’t it? An exclusive item would be harder to get parts for because it might have differences in the way it was made and made with different parts, perhaps cheaper parts for Walmart and better parts for someone else (this is just an example).

    Store brand food and paper products are fine, but I am not keen on buying store brand or store exclusive electronics or furniture, something about it just reeks… cheap and low quality to me. If my only choice was a Dynex HDTV I am sticking with the TV I already have thank you!

    • Firevine says:

      I was rather happy with my Dynex TV. Great picture and sound quality. WAY better than the Coby that my fiancees mom bought us to replace it. Stupid thieves. :(

      I would 100% buy another Dynex. I would then bolt it down to my entertainment center so it doesn’t get stolen again.

  26. jeffpiatt says:

    This is not an new concept generally the big chain stores can get there suppliers to make an custom run of an model to meet an price point or to have certain specs. Sears still does this even to the point that they order units from there suppliers built for sale under there house brands. Wal-Mart tends to aim for price points for there custom runs. the sad thing is the fact that they look all 99% the same with only minor differences made to meet retailer demands.

  27. Talisker says:

    But if the product is only available at Target or Best Buy I’ll never know it exists, and if I try to check the reviews online and don’t find any I’m not going to buy it. At least if I’m using their store as a showroom there is a chance that I’ll buy something else while I’m there, even if their price on the product I’m looking at isn’t competitive.

  28. Outrun1986 says:

    I have been paying tax with Amazon for years and I still choose them over B&M retailers especially when purchasing larger items. They are a company that can be trusted that is why. If retailers want the customers to come back they have to gain the customer back with service and trust.

    I cannot trust a B&M retailer to have the TV that I want in stock even though it is on display, with Amazon I know right away if something is in stock or not, I don’t have to wait for 30 min for an employee to go in the back and check the stock. Setting up a TV is a big deal, so if I buy from a B&M retailer and its defective I have to haul the thing back to the store and hope they have another one to replace it, which they usually don’t especially when buying on a sale. Then you just get a refund and are left without a TV when you are all ready to set it up with no compensation from the company whatsoever. With Amazon I could just ship it off and have a new one delivered to my door, much easier that way, no worrying about stock levels. I have seen enough returns of TV’s while shopping in retail stores to know that things can go bad real fast.

  29. mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

    First off, if someone comes to your B&M store to check out the TV or laptop they plan to buy online; I expect many will pick up a shirt, some cough syrup, and whatnot, while they’re there. Your profit margin is much higher on these items than they are on electronics anyway. No one is going to decide they must pick up some beef jerky from Amazon while they’re checking out on Amazon–unless they were specifically coming there to buy beef jerky.

    Secondly, in relation to others’ comments on providing a better customer service experience–Barraging me with upsells for overpriced cables, extended warranties, and store credit is reason enough for me to always try to avoid buying electronics locally.
    Thirdly, you guys still sell plenty of these items every day: Not everyone shops online, and many never will. You usually have the “instant gratification” advantage. Your sales tax disadvantage is often negated by the lack of shipping fees. Plus receiving large items at home during the workweek can become a nearly insurmountable hurdle for many people.

    Frankly, I don’t think this is really that big of an issue for all you big box stores. The ones who’ve been hurt the most by this are the small specialty retailers. Their overhead per square foot is far higher than yours, they lack the volume wholesale discounts you receive, and they also happen to lack the clout to force vendors to kowtow to them in the ways you’ve proposed for yourselves.

  30. rockelscorcho says:

    So, basically, they want to make a product that limits THEIR choices. Instead of making something, bigger, better and with more variety, they want to do the opposite. Stupid!

  31. ThinkingBrian says:

    I used the Sony Viao’s as an example because of my nightmare personal experience. I bought a Sony notebook from Best Buy last year and after 6 months, it was overheating and unexpectally restarting. So after 4 repairs with Sony and a well placed email to a person who sent it to someone at Sony that could do something about it. Sony ended up giving me a full refund for the notebook instead of a replacement because they couldn’t come anywhere near the specs that I bought at Best Buy for even $1000 and I only paid $850 with tax. And Sony normally doesn’t give refunds, they send you replacements notebooks.

    But I see your point on many items.

  32. suburbancowboy says:

    Wal-Mart definitely does this already. They demand certain price points be met, and to meet them they ask the manufacturer to make a lower quality product. Which is why when a GE toaster model was shooting sparks and flames in 140 different reported incidents, it was only recalled from Wal-Mart, because that was the only place selling them.

    Wal-Mart. Save Money.Get what you pay for.


  33. DeeJayQueue says:

    How about if Target and other retailers took a temporary hit in their profits, retrained their employees, improved the in-store shopping experience and lowered their prices just a little bit?

    All that “Oh we can’t compete with online stores because they don’t have as much overhead” really means “We can’t compete AND STILL MAKE CRAPLOADS OF MONEY with the online stores”

    The intangible factor is that you have to make customers want the item That Very Minute. If you give them an opportunity to wait, they’ll go buy it online. Packaged bundles, freebies, quality rewards programs, these things help entice people into the store.

    Also, while there’s no overhead at an online store, there’s nobody working there either. People go fondle electronics at BB and Fry’s then purchase at Newegg or B&H because the lowest common denominator is the same. Nobody in Best Buy knows jack shit about what they sell, even in the Magnolia. If there were some knowledgeable people in there, like in the halcyon days of Circuit Shitty, who could answer questions and recommend the appropriate products without trying to upsell or cross sell or whatever, people would be interested in coming in.

    I know I would.

  34. esc27 says:

    I’ve done this twice to BestBuy, but not really on purpose… First time, I was shopping for a new HDTV (my first) and found one I really liked at BestBuy. Except they only had the floor model left and did not have the stand. They offered to sell me a wall mount or try and get another TV from another store, but at that point I figured I could do as much myself, went online, found a newer version and bought it on NewEgg.

    Second time I was looking for a new digital camera. I went to BestBuy, but they only had the cheaper version and I wanted the slightly more expensive higher end model. So I ended up demo-ing the one at BestBuy (same form factor/design just less features…) and bought the camera I wanted from Amazon.

    In both cases, had BestBuy had the item in stock I would have bought it on the spot. I don’t expect B&M stores to have every model in stock or even as many as online retailers, but lately it seems like they have fewer and fewer, cheaper and cheaper products.

    Most of my online purchases have less to do with pricing than simple lack of local availability. Book stores are a good example. I’ve had so much trouble finding books lately it isn’t even worth the trouble to go to the bookstore anymore. In half the time it takes to drive to Books-a-million (we don’t have a Barne’s and Noble) and find maybe one out of three books I’m looking for, I can order all three on Amazon.

  35. DariusC says:

    Cool, now I don’t have to step foot in a Target at all! Not even to compare prices! Makes it easy for me. Go right ahead.

  36. ldillon says:

    At least Walmart and K-mart have specific lower-spec merchandise. For instance, a specific hand drill will normally be rated at 10 amps, but the Walmart version will only be 8 amps.

    There was a piece on NRP about Snapper lawn mowers not being sold by Walmart because they refused to make a sub-standard $99 model. They said they just couldn’t make a quality product at that price point and didn’t want to tarnish the brand name that took decades to build.

    I wish more companies felt that way. It used to be easier to trust brand names but now many previously mid to high end-only brands are making cheap products and slapping their name on them.

    Zwilling JA Henckels is a prime example. They made top quality products for 250+ years and now sell the “International” series in Target, etc. I guess they call it “International” because they are no longer made in Germany. They aren’t “bad” products, but they aren’t the same quality.

  37. ldillon says:

    If anything, this should cost Target business. If I see a review online of a specific model and can’t find the exact model locally, I’ll be forced to buy it online to make sure it has the features as reviewed. If there is a substantial difference between online and retail models, it’s likely that the retail model will be the one lacking a given feature.

    There are already a crazy proliferation of models and the attendant confusion. Maybe the smart business plan is something that empowers consumers, not one that tries to fool them. You used to be able to get away with this sort of thing, but the Internet makes it too easy to get caught and all you end up with is a PR fiasco. The only thing that will work is to face competition head-on, not hide from it. I can almost guarantee that some web site will pop us that explains the differences. They the company goes after them with a DCMA or copyright complaint, and again, you’re back to PR fiasco.

  38. Bob from Texas says:

    Instead of asking for exclusives, they should use their shelf presence to negotiate better discounts and/or volume rebates. Keep pricing models about as they are now, but offer to price match legitimate online prices plus shipping, if applicable. Honestly, if I were showroom shopping amazon via sears or target, and they offered a fair price match, I would buy it then and there. Wouldn’t mind paying taxes on it, either. If they can negotiate a better discount than the online retailers, or if moving that many more units will help the bottom line, and I have my product there in stock with local support, then it’s a win win, isn’t it?

  39. AngryK9 says:

    That’s cool. Let them do it. That will just give me a reason not to go to Target at all, where I might see something else I impulsively decide to buy while in the store. This should help me save a lot of money. Thanks Target! I am glad to know you have my financial security in mind. :)

  40. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    Dear Target CEO and Executive VP of Merchandising:

    I like a lot of your merchandise. I used to go in just to browse and buy cute clothes for my daughter and pick up a dress for me while I was at it. Or my Husband would run into a Target to buy a cooler since we decided to go to the beach that day. All school supplies and household goods used to be purchased from Target.

    Target was our impulse purchase store!

    Unfortunately during the last few years shopping at Target stores in Chicago has become a cross between the movie Idiocracy a trip to Bartertown. Snarling, tattooed, male and female gang member employees get pissed off if you dare interrupt their cell phone calls or conversations with each other. Target’s return policy is horrible and the staff at the “Guest Services” counter are rude and dismissive. I have actually seen a fist fight between two women in the toy section. To be fair, they were likely fighting over something unrelated to your store but nothing says ghetto like a fist fight between two women – IN THE TOY SECTION. A creepy man propositioned me in the children’s shoe area, in front of my daughter. Not that any Target team members cared about a fist fight or a man trying to offer women money for “pleasure”. No team member even kicked these people out of the store. The male employee I alerted about the fist fight laughed, he thought it was funny. I left my cart and just left the store. The female employee I told about the man shopping for sex essentially told me that is what city living was like and if I didn’t like it I should move “back to the suburbs”. She then resumed her conversation with her other team members and ignored me. I again and for the last time, left my cart and left the store.

    So let’s continue with the premise that it isn’t Targets fault that the corporation only hires prison convicts and can’t be bothered if sex offenders and fist fighting women frequent your establishment.

    Why hasn’t Target changed any part of the shopping experience to be pleasant? You will never compete with online prices or online selection. Target should capitalize on the ability to for me to buy a product and leave with it same day. Shopping at Target should be enjoyable and relatively free from the threat of violence. Hire employees that can make eye contact and speak clearly. Train your managers to supervise your employees and not allow them to stand in groups of 3 chatting. If a “guest” is behaving badly in a Target store (fist fighting, unable to use the internet to find sex workers), have security ask them to leave and escort them out of the store instead of having security badger me for a receipt.

    Once I have selected my purchases, allow me to pay for them and get them home as quickly as possible in order to begin enjoying them. Instead of having 26 cashier lanes, with only 12 open and making me play check out roulette trying to choose the lane that will allow me to leave in less than an hour (after being ignored or snapped at by the cashier) – Try making one long master line like Joanne Fabrics does. Did I mention I really like shopping there? When it is time to check out, you get in line and the 8 cashiers all just take the next person in line. This system is amazing and I don’t understand why every store doesn’t do this. You can check out in minutes and the line keeps moving giving the impression that you are not standing and waiting.

    In summary, your product offerings are trendy and fun. Your prices are just right. Your employees are horrid, the way your stores are run (or more accurately NOT run) is dangerous to paying customers. The check out system is old fashioned and irritating.

    My household is an amazon prime household now. You will be pleased to know that per your employees advice, occasionally when we are in the suburbs to visit family we stop at Wal Mart for a few stock up items. I don’t understand why Wal Mart gets such a bad reputation and Target doesn’t. Wal Mart employees are clean, nice, and helpful. There are weird people shopping at Wal Mart but they don’t fight, troll for sex, or even talk to me. The Wal Mart is cleaner and has a better selection too.

    I would weep with hot tears of joy if a Wal Mart opened up in a nice neighborhood in Chicago. Target would be completely out of business in 2 years.


    A customer you will never win back.

    P.S. Now where is the contact info for Wal Mart? Bucktown would really enjoy having some options…

    • asten77 says:

      Wow, i dunno what target or walmarts you go to, but I’m in the chicago burbs, and my experiences are pretty much completely opposite.

  41. pattymc says:

    I used to shop at Target frequently, loading up on pantry items especially but I stopped going there because of the right wing causes they donate to. As other folks have said here, the company would do better to devise ways of providing an enhanced shopping experience rather than making that experience even more frustrating. Even if someone goes to a Target to look at a camera, chances are they purchase chips or cards or sweat pants. This is a stupid, stupid move.

  42. red says:

    Allow me to predict what will happen if they get their wish:
    1. Store specific line comes out, and obviously won’t be much better than what is online or there will be a ruckus. It is pretty much the same as online, just a little teeny tiny different.
    2. People look at it and say “how is this different? thats it? AND its only availabile in store and shipped in small volumes AND theres little to no reviews for it online? hmm…well I researched this other one online, theres a ton of reviews about it, so I’ll just look at that.”

    Not to mention when people go window shopping they are looking for specific models usually, since they looked online to see what the best one was. The “k-mart edition TV” is not going to impress me.

    I don’t mind paying the “premium” at a real store if I can find what I want quickly, the staff are helpful and smart, no one harrases me by wanting to see ID, receipts for batteries, sell me cables/warranties, and there is a good return policy. Unfortunately, few stores offer that.

  43. ChunkyBarf says:

    I think part of the problem that gets lost here is that it is not B&M versus Online per se. Rather, it is the intentional (dare I say premeditated?) ‘showrooming’ that is the problem. When you walk into a store knowing full well that you have no intention on purchasing the item there, it creates a bad situation. I am totally understanding if you choose to purchase item ABC123 online because it is cheaper. I also totally understand if you go into a store and get poor service and vow to never shop there again. However, using the store for no other reason than to get a free demo is not a good thing. As much as I abhor certain retail chains, I know that to have them all become glorified showrooms is bad for the local (and macro) economy since they will all very likely go out of business.

  44. dush says:

    Geesh Target, if I had been looking at something online and went to Target to check it out. If it was right there at the same price I’d just buy it from Target! You’d earn yourself a customer rather than chasing one away.

  45. gman863 says:

    This story doesn’t begin to address the dysfunctional issues involved in Target’s argument.

    * Target has a shitty electronics assortment. Best Buy and hh gregg are showrooms; Target consists of three or four TVs wedged into a corner of the store.

    * With the exception of PCs (which Target does not sell), there are few (if any) technical spec. differences between a given brand of low-price commodity electronics items. Anyone buying a $100 Samsung Digital Camera likely won’t be able to tell the difference between models purchased at Target, Walmart, Best Buy or Amazon.

    * Target is playing a shell game with their 5% off if you pay with the Target Card. In reality, they’ve jacked up prices storewide.

    * In Houston, Target’s checkout time is on par with Walmart – it sucks. If it takes me 20 minutes to check out, Amazon looks even more attractive.

  46. Kevin411 says:

    Exactly the point I was going to make. I use Amazon’s iPhone app to scan almost everything I buy to see if it is well reviewed, to see other options, and to be sure the price is reasonably in line with other pricing. If the store has it for $30 and Amazon has it for $25, but I pay shipping and/or wait a week to get it. I’ll usually choose to buy in the store. If the store is double the price I may not, but more than that I’m looking for online reviews.

  47. bwcbwc says:

    Better yet, why don’t Target and BB close their stores and move to an online-only presence. If you can’t beat ’em…

  48. 8bithero says:

    Free market capitalism is the greatest thing in the world until it’s used against you, isn’t it?

  49. JackSchitt says:

    Time to change business model to accommodate:

    Vendors wishing to have their products physically placed in stores will pay a monthly fee, determined by the size of the space required, the level of product training, marketing, and (if the product is available to purchase in the store) merchandising.

    Target, Walmart, Best Buy, et. al. should now be considered retail-styled advertising venues. Revenues will be smaller, but much more predictable, long term.

  50. thomwithanh says:

    I’m pretty sure Shit*Mart is definitely doing this already

  51. thomwithanh says:

    Make customers pay an annual membership fee and voila… Target is now Direct Buy

  52. xanxer says:

    Sounds like an attempt at price fixing and collusion.