When you head out this holiday season to search for bargains, you will be competing with more than 300 million other shoppers for the lowest prices. In fact, by the time Black Friday ends this year, shoppers will have plunked down more than $57 billion dollars in stores and online!

While retailers from big box national chains to tiny mom-and-pop stores get in on the action, most shoppers will find themselves heading for the stores they know—for example: Best Buy, Target, Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us, Walmart and Staples. Here at KCL, we have taken an in-depth look at each chain's individual price match policy. Now, in this final post, we'll take a look at how each stacks up against the others this holiday shopping season.

And the award goes to…

In comparing price matching policies for Best Buy, Target, Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us, Walmart and Staples, it quickly becomes clear that all price match policies are not created equal.

  • Most lenient price matching policy: Walmart. Walmart not only has a generous, open-ended price match policy that does not require the customer to provide proof of lower prices (unless your matching an online price), but the chain has also recently launched a new service called Savings Catcher that will retroactively scan for and credit you with price reductions via an eGift card.
  • Most restrictive price matching policy: Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us. Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us win the prize for the most restrictive price match policy for one reason: their policy only applies to in-store sales. They have no price match policy at all for online sales.

Note: It is also important to note that each chain—and sometimes each store—can determine their own definition for the phrase "local competitor." Typically "local" is defined by a radius of miles, but this can change from store to store.

Black Friday price matching 

One thing all five retailers have in common—not a one honors their price matching policy from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

So here, it becomes more important than ever to do your research in advance to decide which stores to visit for which items on your list!!

In fact, all five price matching policies exclude any items purchased between November 28th and December 1st (basically, Thanksgiving Day through the Cyber Monday).

Price matching quantities

All but one of the five retailers we've looked at will only honor a price match for one identical item per customer.

Staples reserves the right to limit the number of items eligible for a price match, especially if competitors are imposing limits.

Using coupons on Black Friday 

In addition to firing up apps and tools like Cartwheel (Target) and Savings Catcher (Walmart), be on the lookout for special Black Friday coupons (find them on KCL here).

You can also use your regular coupons on Black Friday, although stores may or may not permit coupon stacking on top of items being advertised at deep discounts.

Get your app on

Amazon has a great store app, of course, but the app you really want to keep handy is Amazon Price Checker. This incredible app takes all the research and legwork out of comparing prices—on Black Friday and every day. You can use the app at home or while you are in-store. Just snap a photo of the item’s front, scan the item’s barcode, type the item in manually, or speak the item description into your device’s microphone, and Amazon Price Checker will automatically bring up prices for the item across Amazon’s inventory and all third party resellers. You can browse and even buy from in-app!

Price matching 101

Get more information on individual store policies: