Buyers are looking for ways to get the best deal to combat the impact of rising and fluctuating prices on their budgets. With fierce competition among retailers, some stores are promoting their price-matching policies as a method to help shoppers save money. Stores are grabbing consumers’ money early and, in return, promising to match their own prices – or sometimes a competitor’s price – for many items.
But each store’s price matching policy is different, and not all offer one (Amazon is a prime example). Some retailers have a list of exclusions, including certain products, services, and sale periods, such as Thanksgiving week.
All this bureaucracy makes using these policies even more difficult, especially during the holidays when shoppers are buying more than usual. Here are some tips to help you clear up the confusion and decide if price matching is a good buying strategy for you. holiday season.
What is price matching?
The principle of price comparison is to provide peace of mind to first-time buyers: if the price drops, they can get the difference back in their pockets.
Shoppers typically use price comparison in two ways: in-store at the time of purchase or after the fact, in-store or online. In the first scenario, a buyer finds a lower price and provides proof at checkout, where the lower price is matched on the spot. In the second case, a shopper makes a purchase but finds a lower price within days or weeks and has to go in-store or online to request a price adjustment. This post-purchase scenario is happening more frequently, according to Priceva, an IT company that offers a price monitoring service for retailers.
Who has price matching policies?
Typically, only major retailers, such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, offer price-matching policies to shoppers. Smaller companies are less likely to offer these policies. The best way to find out if a store has a price match policy is to search online for the store name plus “price match policy”.
How to qualify for price matching
To qualify, you’ll need your original receipt and proof of a lower price, such as an advertisement from that retailer or an eligible competitor.
These additional guidelines are typically found in the price matching policies of major retailers:
Item must match exactly, down to size, model number and color. You’re out of luck if you want to match the price of the red tricycle you bought for your child this holiday season and only the green one is in stock.
The product must be in stock and available at the time of the request. Your item must be ready for shipping or pickup to qualify.
The item must have been purchased from eligible competitors. It’s not always obvious which companies retailers consider their competition, but many offer a list online.
The request for price alignment must be made within a limited period of time. Some retailers offer a two-week window while others are more generous.
The number of items eligible for price comparison may be limited. Restrictions can include the number of items that can be priced at once or in total.
Tips to make price matching easier
Here are some strategies to set you up for success in price matching:
Use apps to research prices before shopping
Don’t rely on price-matching policies to save you money. Instead, be a proactive shopper and do your research before you buy, says Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert who runs TrueTrae, a website for consumers looking to save money. Researching “the historical price of this item” can give you an idea of its typical price and whether you’re getting a good deal, she says.
Bodge suggests using apps or browser extensions to be a proactive shopper. For example, with PayPal Honey, you can add an item to your Droplist to track the price and be alerted if it falls below a threshold you set. “If Droplist detects a price drop after a shopper makes a purchase, they may be eligible for a price adjustment, and every opportunity to save is meaningful this holiday season,” said Greg Lisiewski, vice-president. president of PayPal Shopping, in an email.
Familiarize yourself with the policies of a few stores and shop there
Price matching policies work best for people who tend to shop at the same stores. Knowing the ins and outs of a few store policies is much easier than following a long list.
How you choose these stores may depend on whether you have a credit card or rewards card that gives you extra savings, or if you tend to shop at stores near you. Either way, Bodge suggests getting familiar with the store’s policy so you “have recourse and know what that process is like” if you find a lower price later.
Price match requests are also likely to be more successful at the original place of purchase. Retailers will generally honor their store prices, as long as they are within the designated time window. And while they’ll likely match their prices online, many won’t match the prices at their other stores.
Get organized with receipts
It may seem obvious, but finding a safe place to keep all your receipts so you can find them later is crucial. All retailers require an original receipt, so if you can’t find it, you’re out of luck.
Price match only for big ticket items
If an item costs $25 or less, skip the price match, advises Bodge. More expensive items could result greater savings.
Get a price match with your credit card
Sometimes you can avoid retailers altogether and get a price match with your credit card. Although price protection is becoming a less common feature of major credit cards, check with your issuer to see if the one in your wallet offers it.
. How use policies alignment prices this season holidays