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]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.