Target Corp. introduced an online price-matching program just for the holiday season, but now it looks like it’s permanent.

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced today that it will allow customers to use Amazon prices for its products on year-round basis. The company will do the same for prices from Best Buy, Walmart and Toys R Us, but Amazon often has lower online prices and would appear to be a bigger threat to Target’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Best Buy did the same thing this holiday season. It’s a move that tries to eliminate “showrooming,” the term used for when customers go into a physical store to try and feel products, then head home and buy the product online for a cheaper price. I do this at Best Buy all the time — I’ll find a product I like, then use one of the demo laptops to start researching cheaper prices online.

Target will allow customers one week to price-match Target products if they find the same item at a lower price in the following week’s printed ad or website. Amazon only offers price matching for televisions.

The move comes after Target reported flat December sales from last year. Matching some of Amazon’s super-low prices might hurt Target’s bottom line, but CEO Gregg Steinhafel doesn’t think showrooming is that big of a deal, at least in terms of profit.

Previously on GeekWire: Amazon embarrassed after sending premature congratulatory emails to Alabama, Notre Dame fans

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  • Guest

    Very cool! Target downtown offers free wi-fi, making this process incredibly easy.

  • Jeremy Sankwich

    Of course, this is just encouraging more traffic to Amazon sites…since folks are going to be incentivized to now go to Amazon and showroom the product. Even if the final purchase is made in the Target store, Amazon still indirectly benefits.

  • Art Duszynski

    I did this while shopping for Christmas toys last month. I found better deals on several things in the Target store than I did at Amazon (even with my Prime membership). I was quite surprised.

  • Harry He

    Big box stores get exclusive model numbers from manufacturers to block comparision shopping and price matching. Regardless it worth going to Amazon just to avoid the extending warranty
    hard sell and overpriced cables

    • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

      That only seems to apply to big ticket items. People spend a lot more time buying cheaper items than new TVs. You’re not going to see unique model numbers in household goods.

      I price-compared low-end DVD players recently and they all had the same model numbers. OK, I wasn’t really comparing prices on low-end items. I was in a retail store and wanted to look at reviews. This is the reverse of showrooming. I went to Amazon to read reviews and then bought at retail. I’m not ordering online to save $2 when I can walk out of the store right now.

  • unkerjay

    Target matching Amazon prices?

    What next? Changing their name?

    To: “Amazon Outlet”?

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