If you match your competitors’ prices… STOP

Price match guarantee“.

I see that advertised frequently by stores proudly proclaiming that they will “gladly match all regular competitor prices”.

The thinking is: Mr. or Ms. Consumer will see the flyer for one store but bring that flyer to your store to get the same deal.

Or on larger ticket items, Mr. or Ms. Consumer will shop around and get a great price at one store but then go to your store to have you match it.

But why would they?

It doesn’t make sense to offer a price match guarantee. What’s to stop them from going to the original store that offered the flyer? What’s to stop them from hanging up from the company offering them one price to call you up and get the same price.

More effort for no extra benefit. People won’t do it.

Price matching only works when you are already the last store they’ll visit or the last salesperson they’ll call on. You can say “well, you’re here now so I’ll make it easy on you and just match the lowest price so you don’t have to go back to that other store.”

But you can’t use price-matching as a way to entice people to come to your store in the first place. There is no reason for someone to come back to you to get the same thing they can get somewhere else… unless you have some other competitive advantage.

I frequently say that you shouldn’t compete on price, although I realize that sometimes you may have to. So, if you are going to compete on price, don’t just match prices because people don’t have a reason to go to your store.

You have to beat the price. “We’ll beat the competition’s lowest advertised price by 10%” is what one price-beating advertisement says for a store near my house. 10% isn’t huge but it’s something. I’d love to see more than that but that’s just a pipe dream.

Yeah, I know margins are razor thing. I get it. So maybe you have to beat the price more creatively. Or maybe you have to find some other innovative competitive advantage. This is especially true if your competitors are already advertising a price-beating offer.

So stop price matching. It’s costing you.

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