Target Expands Price-Match Policy Beyond December

MINNEAPOLIS (Star Tribune MCT) -

Target announced Tuesday that it will offer its December price-match policy year-round. The policy matches select online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com, Toyrus.com and Babiesrus.com. Target stores will also match prices at Target.com.

The policy, which takes immediate effect, expands on Target’s previous price-match policy, which included price adjustments and ad matches. The policy works on items to be purchased at the register and previous purchases made within seven days. For example, if a consumer purchases an item at a Target store and then finds the identical item for less on Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Bestbuy.com, Toysrus.com or a local competitor’s printed ad within one week, Target will match the price.

The price-match savings, while not usually significant, can add up, according to William Blair & Co., a financial services firm in Chicago. In its survey, it found Target’s prices are about 14 percent higher than Amazon’s. While Target’s customers pay sales tax and Amazon’s don’t, Target’s Redcard customers receive an additional 5 percent discount on each purchase.

Despite the savings, experts generally expect few consumers to take advantage of the price-match policies. While Target, Best Buy, Toys R US and even Amazon offered the match during December, fewer than 5 percent of shoppers were expected to ask for it, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group.

But Target and possibly other retailers are offering the match for consumers’ peace of mind. “Even if consumers [don’t] ask for a price match, they feel comfortable that they are dealing with a fair-priced retailer who is price-conscious,” Cohen said.

To get the match, consumers must take items to Guest Services.

Target began offering its match ad policy in 2009 and began matching a number of online retailers late in 2012.