Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS) is preparing to go toe-to-toe with Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) this holiday season. Starting Nov. 3, Staples retail locations will price-match items sold and shipped by Amazon.com.
The move comes as no surprise considering Staples currently ranks second only to Amazon in online sales in North America. In September, rumors of the price-matching program surfaced when Staples began testing several ads with the tagline, "We'll match any competitor with an online and retail store—plus Amazon."
"We're the second largest e-commerce player after Amazon, and that's part of the reason why we're matching them," Alison Corcoran, senior vice president of North American stores and online marketing at Staples, told Integrated Solutions For Retailers. "As far as we're concerned, they are the leader. We're battling with them to try to get closer."
Currently, Staples store locations will match prices of retailers who operate both bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce sites, but this is the first time the office supplier will also honor Amazon's pricing in Staples' stores. Staples.com has price-matched Amazon goods for the past few years. In order to purchase an item at a lower price offered by Amazon, customers can present proof of the lower Amazon price to any customer service associate at Staples locations. For online price matching, customers can call Staples' online customer service. There is no word yet on whether the price-matching program will extend beyond the holiday shopping season.
Earlier this year, Staples removed Amazon.com lockers from their store locations, perhaps an early indicator that the chain was looking to stiffen competition between its rival. There was little explanation from Staples on why the lockers were pulled from stores, only a brief statement claiming that they "didn't meet the criteria we set up together," from Demos Parneros, president of North American stores and online for Staples.
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