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Convenience has become a big factor in how people make their purchase decisions, but often that means paying a premium on some items in return for one-stop shopping. Unfortunately, saving money usually requires you to travel from store to store, trying to take advantage of their extra-special offers that are meant to get you in the door while purchasing those other must-haves on you list. Many big box retail stores understand the power of convenience and offer a “price match guarantee” incentive that still allows their customers to take advantage of these types of deals without the hassle of driving all over town. Participating stores will either match their competitor’s exact deal to keep from losing the sale or even refund the difference in purchase price if a deal is found after you have already made a purchase.
While each retail store has slightly different requirements, the majority agree that the product being price-matched must be an identical, in-stock product of the same brand, model number, and aesthetic features (ex: color, weight, etc.) to qualify. Simply bring in the entire printed ad, or pull out your smartphone for online offers, to confirm that your item meets these minimum requirements. This means that it still makes sense to find all the best deals at each store while removing the hassle of traveling all over town.
More importantly, most price match policies do not require that a competitor actually be located near you to participate. Now finding that super deal online from a competitor can mean big savings at your local retailer even if there isn’t a physical location in your town. There are some stores that do require a competitor to sell the price-matched item both through a physical store and their online presence. Other retailers will only price-match against other online retailers that they specifically list. The list of competitors that meet one or both of these criteria are still very large though, so everyone should be able to take advantage of most price match policies.
Price match guarantees are eligible on most anything you would want to buy but retail vendors do have some conditions that must be met. Price match guarantees will generally not be honored during traditional sales periods, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, or on items that competitors have listed as “clearance” or limited-quantity offers. These types of super-specials are meant to appeal to the convenience factor and encourage you to make all your purchases while you are already there. Retailers know that these items are often “loss-leaders”, or items sold below their actual value for short-term effect, and cannot compete with that price-level on the long term. Limited stock items, purchases that need a coupon, or purchases that require signing-up for another type of service are also usually excluded.
The best way to make sure you always get the best price for the items you need is to understand the rules. Find out what stores in your area offer price match guarantees by asking the service desk. You can also add the term “price match” to your searches online to pull up a list of each stores policies. A little research around each store’s limitations while preparing your shopping checklist can help you maximize your savings of both time and money.