During one of my searches for the lowest price online (it was a watch in this case) I found a company that was asking much more for the watch than most other vendors, but they said they would match any competitor’s price. Curious, I e-mailed them with the lowest price I had found, some $50 less than their price, asking if they would match it. A few days later I received their response telling me I had a special price that was only valid for 7 days, but it was the same as the competitor.
They’re imitating the behavior of many brick and mortar retail stores who accept competitor’s coupons and match prices, but the benefits are mainly convenience. That’s not an issue online, and unless one site is more trusted or has some other benefit, matching prices doesn’t cut it. There is no compelling reason to use the special offer. In fact, I prefer to give my business to the one that had a lower price to begin with. Besides, I had to wait a few days at the other site just to get the same price I could have already gotten. What’s the point?
Assuming all else is equal, the only way price-matching is going to work online is if they offer to beat the price of their competitors by a decent amount. If I could save $5 or $10, I would probably be willing to wait. Otherwise, I’ll always go with the lowest original price.