Here is an interesting difference between retail in the UK and Brazil – the Brazilian stores consider the Internet site for their own company to be in competition with them. It’s not all about promoting a single brand, or offering the consumer a variety of channels to purchase a product – the high street stores think they have to compete against the Internet site of their company.
I went to buy a TV recently and the price in the store was a full R$1000 more than the online price in the same store – that’s about £400. I asked for them to match the web price for their own company and then offer me a discount on top if I would pay immediately – in Brazil most expensive purchases are spread over a year or two so it’s not so common for someone to pay it all up front.
The guy in the store couldn’t offer me anything – I might as well have just ordered from the online site. He even talked about how bad the service is from the website and if I buy from them, I can’t come to a store complaining if it does not work. Yes, a store from the same chain.
And yesterday I went to buy a pretty cheap Samsung laser printer. It was on the website for about £110 and £160 in the store. Again, when I asked for the web price they were a bit surprised someone had checked, the manager came over, and eventually they agreed to match the web price of their own website.
But what is really shocking is the percentages involved. That printer was about 50% more expensive in store compared to online. The TV was about 35% more expensive than online. These are huge figures and what’s surprising – to me – is the attitude the Brazilian store managers take to their own website.
It seems the retail revolution of the 90s we enjoyed in London has come to Brazil, but the managers of the regular stores hate it that their margins are exposed so openly to consumers. Wait until the shoppers here start using price comparison sites…