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mhhe014473Savvy consumers know how to work a price matching guarantee. In many cases, stores demand clear evidence of a lower price, and they usually impose strict time limits. Even retailers with comprehensive guarantees have made redeeming the refunds a little challenging, something that many customers are accustomed to.
But Target might be upsetting all those expectations. The retailer has announced two dramatic changes to its price matching policy. First, it is expanding the list of competitors that it considers when offering the guarantee. Whereas previously, there were 5 competitors whose prices Target promised to beat, the new policy includes 29 companies, both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers. These rivals include Amazon and Walmart, as well as Best Buy, CVS, Kohl’s, and Office Depot.

Second, the period during which the guarantee is in effect has doubled. In the past, customers had to bring their receipts and evidence of a lower price to Target within 7 days; they now have 14 days, and they can provide the required paperwork either online or in Target stores.

The announcement suggests that Target recognizes the frustration many consumers experience when they try to redeem price matching guarantees. It also offers a signal of Target’s confidence in its price positioning. Still, it will continue to require exact product matches for the guarantee to be invoked. Thus for example, when Target added Costco and Sam’s Club to its list of relevant competitors, there was little risk involved, because these warehouse clubs stock few items in common with Target. Furthermore, the list of competitors still excludes most dollar store chains.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What is a price-matching guarantee?
  2. How has Target changed its price-matching guarantee policy?
  3. Why did it make this change?

Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, October 1, 2015