What Is Price Matching and How Does It Work?

While it’s important to find the best price before buying something, there are still circumstances where you may be eligible for a refund or credit because of price matching. What exactly does that mean, and how can you tell if your purchase qualifies? Read on to learn more about price matching so you can make more informed buying decisions in the future.


What is  Price Match?


While many people are familiar with price matching in brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers like Amazon have introduced a form of price matching that is unique to eCommerce. Online price matching, also called virtual price matching or dynamic pricing, allows you to dynamically change prices on your website based on what a competitor is doing.


If you’re running an online store (as opposed to a web-based service), dynamic pricing can help boost sales since it gives customers even more incentive to buy from you. Just make sure you’re doing it ethically, so potential customers don’t get duped into thinking they’re getting a great deal when they aren’t. We’ll tell you how that works in just a bit!


How does it work?


Price matching is a tool that retailers use to stay competitive in an oversaturated market. You may have seen signs in your favorite store advertising price matching, but you may not be sure what it is.


Here’s how it works: Essentially, if you find a lower price somewhere else, a retailer will either match or beat that price. Sometimes they will even refund you for any difference between their price and another store’s higher one! Depending on your relationship with a particular store (think: membership), they might offer more specific guarantees—for example, if you bring in a competitor’s ad showing that an item is cheaper at another store, some retailers will refund 100% of their advertised difference.


Why would you want to price match your products?


If you do price matching, you’ll likely see a boost in sales for two reasons. First, once people know about your policy, they’ll shop around for lower prices. Second, since it’s inconvenient to go through with a price match request (you’d have to take your items back and forth from one store to another), they might just buy what they need at your store as opposed to driving across town looking for a better deal.


This is also why cashiers will always remind you of your price-matching policy when you’re buying an item that’s on sale—it encourages people who otherwise wouldn’t have been shopping at your store to make a purchase right then.


When Should You Use the Retailer’s


Walmart is one of many retailers that have a price-matching policy. That means if you see an item advertised at a lower price somewhere else, they’ll give you that price.


If they can’t match it because they’re sold out, they’ll provide you with a rain check for when more stock arrives. Target also has a similar policy and Kohl’s offers price matching within seven days of purchase with proof of purchase in person or by mail.


Pros & Cons of Retailer’s


Retailers sometimes make price matching seem like a magic trick. Our prices never change, they say, so how can we possibly match them at a later date? As it turns out, pricing algorithms are not as complex as you might think. Retailers usually base their prices on a percentage of what they paid for an item from their suppliers; if another retailer is selling that same product for less than what you paid, you’re entitled to get a refund on some portion of your purchase.


So why doesn’t everyone demand refunds every time there’s a sale somewhere else? For one thing, retailers have terms and conditions about when they’ll do price matching (it’s almost always limited to within 14 days of purchase). And also, well, who wants to go through all that hassle? A better question: What does it cost me if I don’t ask for a refund? If you want to be sure you’re getting the best deal possible on everything you buy—and who doesn’t—then it pays to know what retailers’ policies are before making a big-ticket purchase.


The good news is that many stores will price match with online competitors, too. Just take a screenshot of what you see online or in print, and bring it into your local store to request a refund on whatever difference exists between what you paid and what’s being offered elsewhere. The only catch here is that some stores will only honor online deals if they include shipping costs or other additional fees. That means it pays to check whether free shipping is part of the deal before asking for a refund.




When you purchase something, your expectation is that you’re paying a fair price. If it seems like a certain retailer is pricing their products lower than other stores in your area, you might be curious as to why.


The answer probably lies in a store policy called price matching. But what exactly does it mean? In simple terms, price matching is when an establishment sells items at or below a competitor’s price, even if they didn’t sell them there. Read on to learn how to properly ask for a price match as well as more details about how these policies work!

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