TODAY   |  May 28, 2013

Price matching: What you need to know

An increasing number of retailers are offering price matching as a way to lure consumers into stores, but it’s not as simple as it seems. TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew explains how to maneuver stores’ policies.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you may have noticed that more and more stores are offering price -matching as a way to lure you in had. today contributor and lifestyle expert elizabeth mayhew is her to tell us how to get the most out of these price-matching deals.

>> good morning.

>> good morning.

>> is it exactly what it sounds like, you go to the store and the other store down the road offered this price, match it or do better? is .

>> pretty much. except for in one instance. yes, this is on the rise, mostly because stores want to capitalize on your business, particularly for bricks and mortar. they also want to cut back on something they call showrooming which is to say you're going online, you want to test it out first, go see the tv or play with the camera in the showroom but making your purchase online. they're trying to capitalize in the store.

>> this sounds like a great deal for consumers and yet i hear people complaining about these programs all of the time. why?

>> well, it's tough, because they're not regular. there's nothing regularized about them. every store has its own cause, its own list of things they require. and sometimes those can be agreements up to three, four pages long. so you really, really need to do your homework. there are things you can do that can can help you, like if you do have a smartphone, you can get apps like shop savvy or red laser , which you can take the bar code and find the best prices in your area. you need to do your homework.

>> there is something called an opportunity cost, talking about time and distance, travel and spent here. explain that.

>> yeah, so, for example, if the store you want to purchase from and they have the price that is a little bit higher than another store that's 25 miles away, you need to factor in the gas, the time, the money, everything it's going to take to get you to that store. so you really need to factor that in, be smart about your purchases.

>> and you talked about showrooming already. if i find a deal on a product online and walk into a brick and mortar store, they're probably not going to match that price.

>> they probably aren't. that's the one thing about this. most stores will not honor online pricing, with the exception of two places that have recently implemented an online agreement. target is one and best buy is the other. so they will match -- and they'll even match amazon, because amazon does tend to have great prices.

>> you tell people also, obviously, know before you go. so in other words, do your research, and then even go to the extra step of printing up the store's policy. why?

>> print up -- because chances are, we're talking big stores like walmart and best buy and target. not every employee is necessarily going to know to the t what their policy is. so print that out. the other thing you need to do, you need to printout the circular or whatever it is, where the ad is, where the offer is for the better price so you bring that in with you. you can go to a website called shop local, which takes all of the circulars from your area, you put in your zip code . that way, you know all of the prices. you can go in there armed and ready. you have to realize that a lot of times this is up to the decision of the store clerk.

>> so be nice.

>> so number one -- when you're shopping, always be nice. and be patient. because you're going to get more with sugar.

>> elizabeth, thank you very much. words to live by.

>>> coming up, health hazards to avoid this summer. after your local news. be nice.