Retail stores, online companies fight to price match

December 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
With just one more weekend of holiday shopping left, you might like to know how to find the best deals at the last minute. The big box stores are competing for the same customers with the same merchandise and they know they need to offer completive prices to get your business.

Online and mobile shopping makes it easy for people to quickly make sure they are getting the best deal, so the big retailers are offering some enticing policies this season.

"I definitely use the Internet for sure, it's a great tool for price comparing," said one woman.

"If it's a major purchase and it's an expensive item, the tax adds up, so I check just before, just to make sure I'm not getting ripped off," said July Burglin of San Francisco.

For the first time this holiday season, many retailers have launched price matching programs both online and in their stores.

"If retailers don't do this, they're just not going to be able to compete. So, in some ways this is an act of desperation. They really have to be able to offer price matching in some way," said Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., from Golden Gate University.

Yarrow is a professor and consumer psychology at Golden Gate University. She studies retail behavior.

"Research has shown that consumers prefer shopping online, because there's inventory management that they can see, there's price comparisons, and there's reviews," said Yarrow.

Target will match prices for shoppers both online and in their store for customers who buy their gifts before Dec. 24th.

Toys"R"Us will match competitor's prices up until Christmas Eve. That's a first for the retailer.

Best Buy just announced they are extending their in-store holiday price matching program to BestBuy.com.

These three retailers also offer price adjustments for the week following your purchase if you find the item advertised for less.

"The consumers have gotten incredibly sophisticated about finding out about price changes. Retailers are going to have to offer adjustments or they are going to lose that consumer," said Yarrow.

But, payment selection may be the best way to get a price adjustment from any retailer.

If you use your PayPal account to buy something before the New Year and then see a lower price advertised PayPal will refund you the difference up to $250. And Citibank will actually track items you buy on its card and if the same item is found for at least a $25 less than what you paid within 30 days of your purchase, it will refund you the difference.

It's important to read the fine print on the various store price matching programs. They all have various parameters and exceptions.


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