Customer Retention: Blick Art Materials Launches Price Matching Program to Retain Loyal Customers
Online price matching is a tactic that brick-and-mortar retailers use around the holidays to save as many sales as possible. Blick Art Materials, the nation's largest art supply retailer, is launching its own online price-matching program — with a twist.
In January, Blick launched "Web Match," a customer loyalty program that uses cloud technology to instantly compare a customer's total in-store purchase price to what the price would be for the same items on its own website (with delivery charges added), and then gives them whichever price is lower. The program applies to Blick's "Preferred Customer" cardholders as well as members of its customer loyalty program.
"We're committed to providing customers the best service, selection and price in the art supplies industry," says Bob Buchsbaum, Blick's CEO. "We've done a lot over the years to make sure our customers trust that there isn't much to be gained through checking out our competition. The theory is that our customers know that our web prices are among the best available. We certainly invest a huge amount of organizational effort to guarantee this. Therefore, if our customer prefers to shop at a physical location and believes that our online prices are the best available, then the customer should also trust that they really can't do any better than going to our store."
Blick's new loyalty program ensures that its customers are always better off shopping its ecosystem for art supplies than any other competitive ecosystem. Buchsbaum illustrated that point with the following example: For small transactions, shipping costs typically outweigh the small per unit pricing advantage that the online store has, so Blick's retail stores were safe against all competitors — online and physical — for small transactions. However, once free freight thresholds are reached online, the transaction often became cheaper online both on Blick's website and its competitors’ sites. The web price match rectifies that situation. If it would have been $10.00 less online, the customer gets $10.00 off in-store.
"This program is about ensuring that our brick-and-mortar stores are offering competitive prices at the transactional level at all times," Buchsbaum says.