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Yesterday, I wanted to buy a computer accessories. Normally, I would buy on Amazon or Newegg, but yesterday, I was a little impulsive and wanted it immediately. Since I was on my way to a business meeting, I used the BestBuy Android app to purchase the product with in-store pickup. I expected to pick it up upon my return from my meeting.

The purchase was smooth. Within seconds, I received a text message saying that the purchase was done. This was when it all went downhill. A couple of minutes later, I received another text message saying that although the app had advised me that the product was in stock, that was a mistake, and I had to call an 800 number.

A quick call to the 800 number, two agents later, and it was sadly confirmed that the stock count was wrong, and that indeed my product was not available at the store from which I wanted to pick it up. Unperturbed, I went to the store anyway, to acquire an alternative product. But like always, I check online with Amazon to ensure that the price is competitive. It doesn’t have to be the same or lower, just within a similar range. If it were not, then I would ask BestBuy to price match.

I found a good alternative to my desired purchase. I took the product to the counter, and asked the cashier to match the price that I found at Amazon. My financée is an Amazon Prime member, allowing us to have free 2-day guaranteed delivery. Despite being fulfilled by Amazon, the BestBuy cashier said that since it wasn’t “sold” by Amazon, and therefore they would not do the price match. The price difference was significant enough

I promptly left the product there, and advised them that I would make the purchase online at Amazon instead.

So what, you ask?

Well, essentially BestBuy lost TWO opportunities to sell me something. Amazon lost the first sale, because I could get it same day at BestBuy; but given that their inventory was wrong, they lost out on the first sale. (So far, 0:0 BestBuy vs Amazon). Despite that, I still gave BestBuy another chance to earn my business. But since BestBuy refused to compete with Amazon, they lost the sale (again), and Amazon won out. BestBuy -1, Amazon 1.

The question is, how can BestBuy sustain its competitiveness against the likes of Amazon, Newegg, and Ratuken (Buy.com)? From my perspective, very few things at BestBuy are absolute “need to have” products. If BestBuy won’t come near its competitors, and aggravates them further with misleading or incorrect information (in my case), then their advantage of capturing the impulsive buy goes away.

In full disclosure, I even checked Staples, since their loyalty rewards program is an attractive one, and had the price been close, I would have walked the extra block to Staples instead (in this case Staples didn’t carry this product).

Brick and mortar stores have to find new ways of capturing the impulse buy. Every lost impulsive purchase is lost business.