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The Perils of Price-Matching Reviewer:   Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.

Abstract

Wal-Mart's national price-matching promotion sounds simple, but implementation has proven challenging. Price-matching programs can be intrinsically difficult to implement, and many retailers seem to struggle with them. At Wal-Mart, individual store managers must interpret the company's policy, and decisions are often made by cashiers on a case-by-case basis. Inconsistencies in these decision are frustrating customers and may be leading to a consumer backlash.    

Price-matching programs are designed to attract price-conscious customers, and this is a core Wal-Mart demographic. Inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary price-matching decisions may prove especially troubling for price conscious Wal-Mart shoppers. Ultimately, the problem relates to trust. Customers may feel cheated if they find they can't trust Wal-Mart to honor their "simple" price-matching offer and consistently provide the lowest prices.  





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