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Holiday Price Matching: The Basics at Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Toys R Us

Dec. 7, 2012
Holiday Tips & News
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The transparency of the Internet has made retail pricing all the more competitive. Many big-box stores proclaim that they offer the lowest prices on the market, but with price comparison websites and consumers well-versed in shopping around, these claims can be shot down fast.

The retailer solution, then, is price matching. Merchants utilize price matching to increase sales, drive traffic and retain customer loyalty.

Simply put, price matching allows consumers to purchase an item at the same price as that being offered by a competing retailer.

Price-Matching Basics

So how exactly does it work?

Price matching allows Suzy Shopper to show a newspaper ad or coupon clipping for a $5 Target item to Walmart management, which sells the same product for $6. Walmart will then sell Suzy the item at the Target price in order to gain that extra sale, even at a $1-lower price.

These retailers offer price-matching policies to attract and keep loyal shoppers. If Suzy does all of her shopping at Walmart anyway, Walmart would rather she not visit Target to buy the cheaper item; indeed, Walmart understands that it is in its own interest to keep Suzy in the store in order to obtain 100% of her purchases.

Despite this seemingly clear-cut policy, consumers should always read the fine print when attempting to take advantage of price-matching offers. Some retailers require proof from the consumer that a product can be purchased for less through a competitor. Further, many retailers will not honor Internet pricing, and will sometimes not even honor price matching in-store based on their own Internet pricing.

Consumers should do some research before attempting to price match to understand what each retailer offers. It is vital that consumers arm themselves with printed ads from competitors that clearly meet the price-match policy of whichever retailer they are shopping at.

While some of these large retailers do not require physical evidence, it is better to be safe than sorry when shopping during one of the busiest times of the year. Visit the website of the target retailer and carefully read what it offers and excludes. As with everything in the retail business, paying close attention to the fine print is essential.

Holiday Price Matching

This holiday season, retailers are getting more aggressive in implementing price-match policies. Both Target and Best Buy have announced plans to not only price match local competitor store prices, but online prices as well. This is major news in the industry as this means brick-and-mortar retailers are willing to go toe-to-toe with

Here is a quick rundown of price-matching policies and what consumers should know from some of the largest retailers in the United States – Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us and Best Buy. While your focus should be on the retailers’ holiday price-matching policies, we’ve included their standard price-matching policies as well to help explain the details.

Best Buy

Holiday Price Matching

  • Will match lower prices on electronics hardware and appliances only.
  • Will match prices on like items at 20 websites:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and
  • Will not price match third-party vendors on these 20 vendor sites (such as Amazon Marketplace).
  • Valid for purchases made Oct. 7-Nov. 17, Nov. 27 and Dec. 24 (excludes weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
  • Item to be price matched must be immediately available at competitor’s website.
  • All other standard price-matching policies apply, such as consumer must have proof of lower price, store does not price match free gift with purchase orders, etc.

Standard Price Matching

  • Consumers must have the physical ad in the store when requesting the price-matching policy; Best Buy will often call the competitor to verify.
  • Will match the price of non-Internet retailers as long as the product is the same item.
  • Will not match the price of any other Internet retailer unless running a specific promotion that states otherwise.
  • Will price match from upon calling the customer service line.
  • Will not price match for items offered with a free gift upon purchase.
  • Will not price match for competitors’ trade-in value or any trade-in promotion.

Full policy here.


Holiday Price Matching

  • Offers price matching for holidays only (Nov. 1-Dec. 24) for the continental United States only; offers matching for consumers who have a printed ad or evidence on a smartphone.
  • Will match online prices of five merchants:,,, and
  • Offers only one online priced item per customer per day.
  • Online prices during Nov. 22-26 are excluded (Black Friday week).
  • Online price match ends Dec. 16, while in-store price match continues until Dec. 24.
  • Has a long list of product exclusions, such as sales tax promotions, offers that include financing, contract cellphones and other mobile devices, and other bundled offers. Consumers should check the website for the complete list.

Standard Price Matching

  • Target matches prices of local brick-and-mortar competitors year-round.

Full policy here.


Holiday Price Matching: None

Standard Price Matching:

  • Will match price on any ad with a specific price; any “Buy One Get One Free” advertisement that has a specific price listed; meat and produce when the price is listed within the same measurements (such as by the pound or specific number of ounces).
  • Physical evidence of advertisement is not required.
  • Will not match prices on items with percentages off (such as all toilet paper 40% off); items with no price listed; items that have a paying scheme (such as purchase X to get Y for Z); closing or “going out of business” prices; or misprints by competitors.
  • Does not honor Internet pricing.

Full policy here.

Toys R Us

Holiday Price Matching

  • Complete competitor ad must be present with the consumer at the time of purchase.
  • Will price match from all competitors on all products in Toys R Us stores.
  • Will price match any product on or except for Cyber Monday prices and Internet-only prices.
  • Will not match Internet pricing for non-baby-gear items.
  • Prices are matched after deduction of coupon savings and other specific item offers at the time of purchase or within seven days of purchase with the original, correct receipt.

Full policy here.


Price guarantee image from Shutterstock