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Monday, January 14, 2013

Target Looks To Win More Customers With Price-Matching

Over the last Christmas spending season, the Target store chain enacted a policy of matching the prices of its most noteworthy competitors (read: Wal-Mart) in an effort to attract more customers. And despite the fact that this policy didn’t attract the numbers it sought after all of the post-holiday tallies, the retail chain announced last Tuesday that it would begin matching competitor’s prices all year round. According to a recent news release,

“it has decided to keep the bargains coming on a steady basis by matching prices found on the websites of its most important competitors: Amazon.com, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us (See:  "Target to match prices year-round of rival retailers Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us" ). 

This means that if you purchased a “qualifying item” at Target, the retail chain will match the price from Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or Toys “R” Us’s print ads, or from their online stores. Additionally, Target has said that it would “match its own prices if a consumer buys a product in a Target store and then sees it at a lower price in the following week’s Target circular.”
This policy is the latest in a rough-n-tumble fight among the major retailers to claim a share of consumer market where we are forced to save as much as possible when making a routine purchase of any kind. However—yes, there is always a “however” when looking for the best deals—Target tends to stock specialty and exclusive brands which are only sold at the chain’s 1,700 stores, such as its current Target + Neiman collection (a partnership with luxury apparel chain Neiman Marcus). This means that you as a savvy shopper are going to have to put in some work in order to find an item that you can actually buy at a lower price after the comparison shopping.
For example, if you are looking to purchase a Playstation 3 video gaming system, Best Buy’s online store has the basic system priced as $299 (Current Listing). However, the PS3 at Target's online store is listed at the same price, but comes in a “bundled” package that also includes a copy of the hit video game Assassin’s Creed as well as a 30-day trial membership in Playstation’s “Plus” online gaming network (Current Listing).
The upshot is that despite Target's attempt to beat out competitors by way of price-matching, this does in no way mean an automatic savings for shoppers.  It still means that in order to find the best deals, you will have to continue to do what the most savvy of shoppers have always done...comparison shop!

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