It is safe to say that a majority of people have left money on the table because they failed to ask for a price match. It takes a little effort to compare prices before shopping, but it’s worth it.
For example, Kevin Brasler, an executive editor at Consumers’ Checkbook recalls a time when he and his wife were shopping for a car seat. Before they finalized the sale, they did a price check and saw an opportunity to save $50 at Amazon. Their in-store experience was good and the salesperson was patient and answered all of their questions. In a way, Kevin was invested in the experience and bought from the store.
Some may think that was a poor decision but others will argue that Brasler did well by supporting a local store but he failed to do one thing. He did not ask, “Can you price match this item?” at the register.
In many cases, bricks and mortar stores cannot match Amazon’s prices but they can match other local stores and their sales prices; the key is to do the homework before making the purchases.
Consumers’ Checkbook did a study and found that mystery shoppers saved a significant amount of money by asking for a price match when making their purchases – even as much as $140 savings on a quality sound bar system.
If the shopper can provide proof that another store is selling the same product cheaper, they are often obligated to match it because they have a price match policy. This may come in the form of sales fliers or a shopping app. Naturally, there are exceptions and exclusions but the opportunity to save cash is worth asking about.
This may sound like stores are hemorrhaging money. They’re not. Profit is built in despite the sales and price matching. Another reason stores aren’t concerned is because less than 10% of consumers ask for a price match.
According to Sucharita Mulpuru, a Chief Retail Strategist, price matching has increased over the last decade but consumers rarely take advantage of it – or they are simply unaware of the option. Other consumers don’t bother because they know these companies are fairly sophisticated with their methods of competitive pricing.
Nanda Kumar, a professor of Marketing at the University of Texas at Dallas has said no one will save money at a store with price matching policies if they don’t use it. Kumar also stated that the segment of consumers is necessary to help regulate the pricing behaviors of retailers.
How to Price Match
Check retailer websites for price matching policies.
Stores like Walmart and Lowes will not price match with Amazon.
Check for comparable products.
Most price matching policies require that it is the exact product that can be matched. Oftentimes stores have different model numbers. It’s close but it’s not the same. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a price match but don’t get angry if they say no because of product differences.
There are price comparison apps
There are price comparison apps that allow consumers to scan the barcode and see if that item is being sold elsewhere for less money.
Double check the online prices
Stores like Target often have online prices that differ from in-store pricing. Target will match it at the register if you ask.
Post purchase savings
There are stores that have a price protection perk. For example, if the price drops within a certain amount of time, the consumer can return to the store with their receipt and get credit. Call the store first to ask about their policy before you make a trip and stand in line.