With holiday shopping underway after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers are eagerly looking to take advantage of sales, discount deals, and coupons while going from store to store (or websites) for the best prices. By price matching, you can sometimes get a money-saving discount without having to do so much legwork, if you’re willing to do some investigating into price-matching policies.
Why should I check out price matching?
Price matching means that if you go to a retailer with a price-matching policy, and then prove that an item it carries is available for less at another store, the retailer will match the lower price for you. Instead of having to go to a number of different stores, you should be able to find lower prices and then get them matched at a few stores. Often, national chains of department, sporting goods, home improvement, home goods, pet, and hobby-crafts stores have price matching policies in store and online. The concept of price matching is simple, but it’s necessary to do some preparation work before you can get the full financial benefits of taking advantage of store policies. Here are some ideas for maximizing your price matching.
How to become a price-matching professional
- First, decide how much time and effort you want to put into price matching. Will you be price matching on everything or just more expensive items? Since it takes time to comparison shop on prices, decide just how much time to invest to save money. Do you want to save smaller amounts on more, cheaper items—such as $10 on an electronic gift card, or larger amounts on fewer, more expensive purchases, like saving $200 on a new television—or both?
- Be prepared by creating your full holiday shopping list for price matching. If there’s a chance that your desired merchandise could be price matched, add it to the list, whether it’s wireless earbuds, a video game, action figure, or luxury shoes.
- Next, be a retail detective and dig into stores’ price-matching policies. You have to find out both if a store has a price-matching policy and its details. Go online and visit a retailer’s website, and if the site has a search function, type in the words “price match,” or look up either the website’s section on customer service, policies, consumer promises, commitments or guarantees. Once you find the policy, scrutinize the details and make a note of them; specifically, what types of price matching the retailer will honor and what the exceptions are to its policy—what it won’t let you match. Two common details in price-matching policies are that the matched item must be in stock and be the exact same model that has a lower price at the competitor’s store.
- Also, check out retailers’ policies on low-price adjustment. Both price matching and low-price adjustment policies can save money, but they are different. Again, price matching is when a retailer will match a competing retailer’s lower price, but a low-price adjustment policy means that if a retailer's price on an item goes down within a certain amount time after the date of your purchase (such as a week), the retailer will refund you the cost difference. The low-price adjustment policy can give you the advantage of cost savings if your purchase goes on sale after you’ve bought it.
- Then, price check what’s on your holiday shopping list. There are different shopping and price comparison tools online you can use, often as part of a search engine, a website, or a mobile phone app, to look at a list of current prices. You can also go straight to the websites of retailers to look up prices. You may want to bookmark your search in your browser, or be prepared for printing pages for the next step…
- Create your provable evidence of the lowest price. When you find the low price for the exact merchandise you want online, take a screenshot of the price (with details on the item and retailer) and print the offer, or get an original print ad (usually received in the U.S. mail; photocopies/scans/cellphone pictures might not be accepted) with the deal you want to have price matched. You may also want to get a copy of the website address of the lower price merchandise. Take the hard copy evidence to the store and show it to cashier or customer service to work out the price match. If you’re shopping on the website, you’ll need to contact customer service, either using the site’s online chat tool (if available) or by calling customer service and stating that you’d like to receive a price match for an item; have all your evidence with you.
Price matching may not always be offered at a retailer, but if you do your homework, you could realize some significant cost savings.
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