Diatribe: Charging A “Just Looking” Fee.
I’m an inconsistent shopper. It seems that I either make impulse purchases or I study, research, compare, price check and shop until my head spins. I can either make a quick decision or a long drawn-out purchase but there is little in between. Certainly, bigger purchases like a new vehicle or a computer should be afforded more thought and consideration than a pair of shoes stumbled upon at a discounted price.
Like many, I also like to window shop. “Let’s go to the mall!” doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be shopping for anything in particular. I like to be welcomed into a store as a potential customer every time
Recently, a store in Australia has begun to charge a $5 “just looking” fee to customers who leave without making purchases. The store claims to have had a problem with people using them as a reference for prices, etc. and then making their purchases online instead. They posted the following notice:
As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for ‘just looking.’
The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.
Why has this come about?
There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.
This policy is in line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.
I see nothing wrong with trying on shoes at the mall to test for fit and comfort before purchasing them online from another retailer. If the online retailer offers free shipping or other discounts that make it more economical for me to buy from them, that’s what I’ll do.
Sure, it’s probably frustrating to see customers come and go without making a purchase but, if they’re really concerned with people “just looking” in their store, they should consider a price-matching policy, a (heaven forbid) rewards program or even simple coupons. They most certainly should not charge a toll at their door.
Would you even consider shopping in a store with this policy?!
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