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Target Expands Price Matching to Include Amazon

Target expanded its price-match policy, but it seems to have learned a few things from Walmart, which ran into some bumps last year when it expanded its price matching program. As of October 1st, Target stores and Target.com will match prices from 30 retailers, including Amazon.com as well as membership clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club.

You might remember the hubbub from last November when Walmart expanded its price-matching to include not just Amazon.com, but Amazon’s third-party merchants as well. That led to people posting expensive items for cheap prices on Amazon.com they didn’t actually have for sale in an effort to get Walmart to match the price.

In curtailing the program, Walmart referenced the behavior, saying it could not tolerate fraud or attempts to trick its cashiers.

That was likely a valuable lesson for Target when revising its own program this year. It will match Amazon.com prices, but it specifically excludes third-party merchants, writing under its exclusions policy: “Marketplace” prices and prices from third party sellers will not be honored.”

Target expanded the list of online competitors it matches both in stores and Target.com and added 24 more. “We looked at which competitors are most important to our guests, and where there’s a lot of overlap with Target’s product assortment, and landed on the competitors that are most relevant for our guests.”

The full list includes: Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com, BedBathBeyond.com, Bestbuy.com, BN.com, Buybuybaby.com, Costco.com, CVS.com, Diapers.com, DicksSportingGoods.com, Drugstore.com, Gamestop.com, JCPenney.com, Kmart.com, Kohls.com, Macys.com, Newegg.com, Officedepot.com, Petco.com, Petsmart.com, Samsclub.com, Sears.com, SportsAuthority.com, Staples.com, Target.com, Toysrus.com, Ulta.com. Walgreens.com, Walmart.com and Wayfair.com.

Target also doubled the timeframe for a price adjustment to 14 days, both in stores and at Target.com. “That means, if you see a lower price, you have two full weeks to come back for the adjustment. The timeframe for Target.com used to be seven days, or until the end of the following week’s ad for store purchases.”

However, some shoppers pointed out that the policy includes the following restriction: “Limit of one price match per identical item per guest for online competitor matches.”

In addition, the policy states that “Price matches and adjustments will not be allowed for prices from Thanksgiving Day through the Monday after Thanksgiving, whether offered by Target or a competitor.” And clearance items are also excluded.

According to a recent post by RetailDive.com, Target is spending a billion dollars to beef up its ecommerce site four years after taking back control of it from its former partner Amazon.

It said Target is investing heavily in technology and is streamlining its inventory and logistics fundamentals to avoid the kind of problem it encountered with a Lilly Pulitzer promotion that resulted in negative publicity, and resulted in Target banning resellersfrom its stores.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.