What Is Price Matching?
Did you know that some stores will match the lower prices of other retailers? Learn how customers can request a price match from many retailers.
February 8, 2022
Everyone likes scoring a good deal on items they need or want. Most of the time, that means keeping an eye on sale prices, using coupons and shopping around.
But there is another strategy that customers can put in their deal-finding toolbox: price matching.
Price matching is a service offered by many retailers, and it can help you save money without having to make an extra trip to another store.
What is price matching exactly, and how does it work? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and help you use this potentially money-saving service.
What is price matching?
Essentially, price matching means that a retailer will match lower prices from another store or website.
For example, let’s say you want to buy a new video game at Best Buy. The store has it priced at the standard $60, and it isn’t on sale. If you look online and see that Walmart.com is selling the game for $45, you could request that Best Buy match this lower price.
Typically, you would need to go to the customer service counter and show proof of the lower price — e.g., the website on your phone or a physical advertisement. The customer service agent should then be able to lower the price to $45, and you can purchase it without making the trip to Walmart.
Why do retailers price match?
Retailers offer price matching to help keep customers loyal. They’d rather lose money on a single transaction than lose you as a customer.
Recent data suggests that around 38% of shoppers are willing to shop around at many stores to find the lowest prices. Retailers know this, so they are willing to match their competitors’ prices to make the sale.
Not all retailers offer price matching, and policies vary among those that do. For instance, some retailers will only match certain other stores while others are more flexible.
Which retailers offer price matching?
Many stores and online retailers now have price-matching programs. This includes many popular retailers, such as:
Walmart and Walmart.com
This isn’t a complete list; hundreds of retailers and e-commerce websites now have price-matching policies. To find out if your favorite retailer matches prices, check their website, contact their customer service department or search “[store name] price matching” on any search engine.
Each retailer will have its own specific rules. Here are some common conditions to keep in mind:
Many retailers match Amazon.com pricing but only if the item is sold directly by Amazon and not a third party
Amazon doesn’t price match other retailers
Many retailers don’t price match Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals
Many retailers have certain items or product lines that they won’t price match
Items must be in stock and available for purchase in order to price match
You’ll need to provide proof of the lower price, like a screenshot on your phone or a local paper advertisement
Many retailers only allow for price matching before you make a purchase; some may adjust prices after the purchase if you find a lower price within a certain time frame
Online vs. offline price matching
Online retailers, physical stores and hybrid retailers may all offer price matching.
As we mentioned above, Amazon.com doesn’t price match, but Walmart.com does. Target stores offer price matching, but Costco stores don’t.
The process for an online retailer may require you to contact support and fill out an online form to request a price match.
The process for an offline retailer may require you to visit the customer service counter to get a price match.
Finally, keep in mind that many stores will match their own website’s pricing. For instance, you may notice that a printer is $199 in a Staples store, but it’s listed at $149 on Staples.com. In this case, you could show the cashier proof of the lower price on the website to get a price match if you prefer to shop in person.
How to use price matching to save money
Why is price matching good? You can shop at your favorite store and save money even if their price isn’t the lowest.
Instead of running all over town trying to find the lowest prices, you can use the internet to see who has the best deal. Then you can get a price match at your preferred retailer — as long as they offer the service.
Here’s how to score good deals using store price-matching policies.
Learn the price-matching policy at your favorite retailer(s)
Use the internet to find the price-matching policy at your favorite retailers and give it a thorough read. Do they match local retailers only, or will they also match online prices? Are any items excluded? What kind of proof is needed? What is the price-matching process?
Find the lowest price
When you have a specific item in mind that you need to buy, use a tool like Google Shopping or Yahoo Shopping to compare prices. Identify the retailer with the lowest price on the item. Get proof of the lower price on the retailer’s website or as a printout of their weekly ad.
Read our guide on how to find the best price.
Price match at your preferred retailer
Take the proof of lower price to your preferred retailer — either at a local store or online. For online purchases, you’ll typically need to contact support via chat or phone. For in-person purchases, the customer service counter is most likely where you’ll need to go — standard checkout personnel may be able to price match, but often they can’t.
After that, the only step left is to figure out what you want to do with your savings.
Getting a price match can help you save money, but it’s most worthwhile for larger purchases. A price match on a $5 item could only save you $1 and may not be worth the hassle. For more significant purchases, the savings are more likely to be worth your time.
The price-matching process can look different at each retailer, but it’s generally straightforward. As long as you can prove that a competing retailer is offering the exact same item at a lower price and the item is in stock and available, the store should be willing to match the price.
Again, it’s important to read the price-matching policy at your preferred retailer to understand all the details.
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