We wrote about this issue plaguing Best Buy as far back as June 2005, and still the chain can't seem to make the prices on their website match the ones customers are finding at their in-store kiosks.
This article from the Los Angeles Times discusses how a particular customer ran into such a continuity error when purchasing a DVD player.
In all fairness, a rep from Best Buy named Sue Busch was quoted in the article saying that, "Bestbuy.com is the national price. Individual store prices may vary from market to market."
That may sounds good in theory, but Best Buy can sell that company line all they want and they are still going to have to face mobs of angry people complaining, and then possibly shopping elsewhere, because they saw a product listed cheaper on the company's website. While some shoppers may recognize the national vs. local advertised price conundrum when they see it, they're just as likely to think that the store's trying to pull a fast one on them.
This whole issue is a prime example of how major companies still have trouble understanding multi-channel marketing, i.e. they need to think of the web and in-store kiosks not as separate shopping experiences, but rather as a part of the whole. Providing a seamless shopping experience from the web to the store is how the best companies are moving ahead of the rest in this rapidly changing market. Everything from major concerns like prices to the kinds of colors and logos used on the web and in-store should be made to match as often as possible.
I guess maybe I'm more picky than a lot of people, but it really annoys me when a chain store doesn't have a comparable theme to their website than what I come to expect from the in-store shopping experience. I want to see the same colors, the same logos and the same slogans and instructional signage to make me feel like I'm shopping with a company that has moved with me from the web to the brick-and-mortar store.
Tags: interactive kiosks, store experience, retail marketing