Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping Tips for the 25 Days of Christmas: Tip #21

As a veteran of the retail industry, I know all too well that when economic times are tough, retail managers get very creative to "save the sale" and keep your customers happy. Prices are so incredibly promotional right now, and in some cases literally dropping by the day.

I had posted an earlier tip about keeping your receipts to ensure that if prices dropped, you could return to that retailer to get a price adjustment. Many retailers offer at least a 14-day price protection so that if it goes down (except in the case of clearance items) the retailer will give you that lower price.

The following tip is also related to getting the best price, but with a twist:


Keep your eyes open for prices at competitors and ask for that price match if you have already purchased that item at another retailer!

If you have kept your receipts, and find an item that is less expensive elsewhere, you should ask for a price adjustment. If you can find documentation of this lower price, bring that with you (an ad circular, a screenprint, etc.). If the retailer refuses to adjust your price you always have the option of returning the item and purchasing it from the retailer that is less expensive. In today's competitive retail world, the chances are pretty good that the retailer will try to "save the sale" and adjust your price by a few dollars instead of losing many more dollars. The best thing you can do is to ask for the "Manager on Duty" and politely and professionally inform them of the price difference.

This also applies to your online purchases, you should inform the online retailer that there is a lower price from another online competitor and that you would like to ask for a price adjustment. Again, you should have documentation, and can send them a link to the item in your communication.

Where it gets tricky is when you purchased something in a store, but see it online at a competitor for less. Online pricing will often be different than store pricing as they are working with different economies of scale. However, in my experience as both a retail manager and as a consumer is that a retailer will honor that price adjustment if the customer can provide some documentation. I recently was awarded a sizeable price adjustment from a national big box retailer when I brought in a screenprint of the same item with a much lower price online.

It can also be more complex when you have purchased something online but find it for less in a store. It can be done with persistence, patience, politeness and "please and thank you"! Remember, these employees are feeling the pinch of this holiday season, they WANT to find a great way to help friendly customers! The online process can take a bit longer, but I am again proof that it can be done...a certain major online retailer adjusted a $5.00 price difference for me.

Good luck, and remember to always keep your receipts!!!

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