Lately, price matching has become many major retailers’ mantra. You’ve heard the retailers’ promises – “We guarantee the lowest prices” – “We’ll beat any advertised price” – “We match our competitor’s prices.” And did you hear the latest from Target? On Tuesday, Target released this announcement that it has made it’s 2012 holiday price matching policy permanent. Even price matching with Amazon!
Wow – Target’s price matching policy change is a major game changer here! But the question is – when put into practice, does price matching really work?
My response? Absolutely! Here’s three recent cases of price matching that saved me money – and should inspire you to think “Price Match” when you are shopping.
Case #1 – Price Matching at Target
Target’s new price matching policy , combined with a Target REDCard, has the potential of some serious savings. But would the new policy hold up in the store? Let’s find out!
My “targeted” purchase? A new iPad Smart Cover. It was the perfect “test case,” and a quick search at my local Target found the exact cover I was looking for.
Time for the price check using my smart phone and a bar code scanning app. Woo-hoo! A waaay better price was found at Amazon.com. We’re not talking pennies, but dollars, $22.99 less to be exact. That’s a big chunk of change for any store to price match – more than 50% off the retail price. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure Target would match it.
I am happy to report – Target did match the price! The department manager gave the “all clear” and I walked off with my new Smart Cover for less than half the retail price. Score 1 for Price Matching! And, with my Target REDCard, I saved another 5% off that already deeply discounted price.
Case #2 – Price Matching at Best Buy
Ok, this was a two-fer. The purchase objectives: a new MacBook Pro and an OtterBox for my son’s iPhone. One a big ticket item, and the other an expensive item for what it is. My store of choice – Best Buy, who also advertises a Price Match Guarantee policy.
First up – the Otterbox. A quick product bar code scan located the exact same Otterbox at Amazon for $17. That’s a hefty discount off Best Buys’ full retail price of $49.95. Did Best Buy match it? Yes! Score 2 for price matching.
Next – the MacBook Pro. This was a little trickier as I didn’t have access to the product bar code. However, I did have the exact product name, and with a quick browser search on my iPhone, I soon found an online electronics store offering the exact same model for $100 less than Best Buy.
At check-out I presented the cashier my iPhone with the lower priced MacBook Pro still loaded in my browser. Yep, you guessed it – another price match. Score 3! Oh, and don’t forget rewards earned because I also presented my Best Buy Rewards Zone card.
Case #3 – Price Match with Retailer’s Online Store
A retailer’s online product price can differ from it’s in-store product price, often with an “online only price” caveat. Don’t let that deter you from asking for an in-store price match. If you show that lower online price to the store manager, they might just match it. Why? Because they’d rather have the sale credited to their store and not the online store. And it makes for better customer loyalty.
So again, I put Target to the test. My quest – that ever popular marshmallow shooter my boys were keen on having. There it was on the shelf for $19.99. But I recalled a better price online. Bar code scan time! Yes, indeed, it was selling at Target.com for $14.99.
Quick! Where’s the toy department manager? Now the ask – will Target match it’s online store price? I think you know the answer by now – another price match! Score 4 for price matching and a $5 savings per shooter. Oh, wait, I used my Target REDCard – my savings was $5.75 per shooter. Love it!
My Price Match Savings?
In total, by price matching these four items, I saved close to $170.
And this is why you too, should price match. Here’s some advice to help you on the path of doing your own price matching.
Tech Tools for Price Matching
My personal preference for price matching is with a smart phone and a bar code scanning app. I’m always on the go, so having the ability to price match at a moment’s notice is a must. No worries about forgetting anything at home. In my opinion, it’s also the easiest way to price match.
You pick the smart phone, and I’ll help you pick the bar code scanning app. There are lots of bar code scanning apps designed for on-the-go shopping, and it can be a challenge to pick one. I’ve used several, and the following are my personal favorites:
- ShopSavvy – Apple, Android and Windows phones.
- Smoopa – Apple and Android phones.
- Amazon Price Check – Apple and Android phones.
And each one of these apps is free! Other apps worth considering include RedLaser, PriceGrabber and Google Shopper. Another neat app is Decide.com, but it’s currently limited to Apple devices.
Want to learn more about shopping with a bar coding scanning app? Check out these posts on ShopSavvy and Smoopa:
Don’t Have a Mobile Smart Device?
You can still price match, though you will need to prepare before you head out to the stores. Do your homework at home, find that lowest price online, print it, and bring it with you to the store. Found an advertisement with a lower price in your mailbox? Bring it with you. You can also try the “post-purchase” price search. If you find a better price online after you’ve made your purchase, bring it in and ask for a price adjustment if it is within a week of the item’s purchase. They may say no, but then again, they may say yes. Doesn’t cost anything to ask!
Suggestions for More Effective Price Matching
If you know what you will be shopping for, do some price research at home before you go. Determine in advance what price you expect to pay for that item. If you find a great deal, print the ad or load it onto a mobile device to bring with you.
Scanning a product’s bar code is not just about product pricing details. It’s also an effective method of finding product reviews, helping you make a more educated buying decision.
Always ask nicely. The old addage, “you get more flies with honey than vinegar” holds true here. If the retailer doesn’t have a firm price matching policy, there is lots of “wiggle room” to matching a price.
Don’t forget to check the retailer’s own website. If you find a better price there, ask the store manager (or other qualified employee) if she will match the website’s price.
Ask for a price match, even if the retailer does not have a published price match policy.
Final tip – It doesn’t cost anything to ask for a price match! So do it. The savings potentials are there for the taking.
Be an informed shopper and do price matching. And remember, whether you find a lower price before you shop, or while you shop, its up to you to find that lower price and cash in on the savings.
Do you routinely price match? Will you price match more in 2013? Do you use tech for on-the-go price matching?
Images from Target, Amazon, Best Buy, ShopSavvy and RedLaser.