Stores look to compete with online deals
A price battle between some of the biggest and most popular stores could cut the cost of Christmas for your family this year.
If you take sale flyers to the store to compare prices, don't forget your smartphone, too.
"Oh, I'm definitely going to be trying to save money," said shopper Carol Huber.
In some stores like Target, that smartphone could bring you smart savings starting next week.
"It's great," said shopper Janel Razbi.
"They will try to get every penny, because a penny spent at their store is a penny not spent somewhere else," said Purdue retail expert Richard Feinberg.
So Feinberg thinks more stores will go the way of Target, Best Buy and others, letting in-store customers match competitors' online prices.
The stores are trying to grab hold of so-called "showroomers," folks who come in to touch and feel the item, then go home and ordered for less online.
Say you like the Nook Color at $149. Use your smartphone to check the price on, say, Amazon.com. The online retailer has the same tablet listed at $134, a savings of $15 by shopping online.
But under the new plan, at some stores, you can take the competitor's online price to the checkout or customer service and ask them to match it.
If you don't have a smartphone, Target says it will look it up for you.
"I would do it," said Razbi. "I use my smartphone all the time anyway. I'm connected to it."
But for shopper Shawn Carpenter, "I just think it's too time consuming. No, I wouldn't take the time."
"You need to know the rules of engagement before you go into the store," Feinberg said.
Some stores may find a reason not to match a price, like a model number slightly different on an identical item.
But you should still ask.
"These stores, they want to make the sale. The consumer is king or queen in this environment," Feinberg said.
The price matching at Target runs November 1 through December 16 only. Other stores may have different dates, so you should ask stores when their new policies begin and end.