Listen up, ladies. There’s this thing you’ve got to try. Sure, I know you’ve experimented with stuff in the past, and had some fun with it, but this is taking it to a whole new level. It’s like nothing you’ve experienced before. Trust me—it feels awesome.
It’s called price matching. And I’m totally addicted.
“We will match the advertised purchase price of any competitor for an identical product," explains Felicia Fefer, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations for Walmart Canada. Walmart’s Ad Match policy is offered at its stores across the country.
"We require proof of the current published in-store price in an advertisement by a retailer in the local area. That can be in the form of a printed flyer or an app like Flipp.”
Are you familiar with Flipp? It’s the high-tech version of my old-school system of leafing through flyers and circling desirably priced items. You could be standing in the juice aisle and thinking, “Hmmm, Oasis is pretty expensive today. I wonder if anyone has it on sale this week.” You do a quick search on Flipp, show your smartphone screen to the cashier, and smugly pay the lower price.
If you have a need for speed (for example, you have a baby and/or toddler with you), searching for every item on the fly might not be practical, so you may want to build a list in advance with its “clippings” feature.
For price-matching rookies, finding the identical product is critical. The per-kilogram price of lean ground beef can be matched with lean, but not with extra-lean. An advertised price for Gay Lea butter can only be applied to that brand, not others. Packaged items must be the same size, so you won’t be able to match the price from a small 440-gram box of Rice Krispies for the “family size” 640-gram one. If you’re confused about the details, check the fine print on the flyer or website, or ask store staff.
“We train all our cashiers so they are very familiar with the program and help make the process easy and efficient for our customers,” Fefer notes.
Loblaw Companies Limited is also in on the price-matching game. While the mega-retailer operates stores under a variety of names (including Atlantic Superstore, Dominion, Bloor Street Market, Extra Foods, Fortinos, Loblaws, Save Easy, Valu-mart, Your Independent Grocer, and Zehrs), price matching is only offered at Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills locations.
However, all Loblaw stores offer their innovative points-collecting program, PC Plus.
In the family of money-saving strategies, the loyalty program is price-matching’s attractive cousin. PC Plus launched in November 2013 to the delight of grocery-shopping enthusiasts. Customers sign up to get their points and offers via the PC Plus app or website. In addition to in-store spending and bonus offers, PC points can be earned on purchases at affiliated gas bars (where applicable) and by using reusable grocery bags or bins.
“PC Plus is all about rewarding customers for shopping with us,” says Loblaw Senior Vice-President Uwe Stueckmann. “The app has tools to build a shopping list and plan meals. It sends customers personalized offers that let them earn points on the things they like to buy. Over time, the accumulated points can be redeemed to save money on in-store items.”
The day you redeem, you’ll feel euphoric. At home, you’ll accost your unsuspecting spouse to brag, like I do: “See this bacon? It should be $4.99, but it was free. I redeemed. And this yogurt—free. Chicken legs—free. And did I mention I waited until the big No Tax weekend to redeem? So I truly paid nothing. Honey? Are you listening?”
Enticing opportunities to collect and redeem points are everywhere. Shoppers Optimum offers bonuses and timely “spend your points” events at Shoppers Drug Mart (which is now owned by Loblaw).
Grocery competitor Sobeys is in the process of transitioning its Club Sobeys points system to merge with Air Miles. (A side note: while Sobeys doesn’t offer price matching, its parent company – Empire Company Limited – owns 47 FreshCo stores in Ontario that do.)
To turn yourself into a souped-up, points-collecting machine, consider a credit card connected to your loyalty program of choice. The no-fee President’s Choice Financial MasterCard is linked to PC Plus and gives you 10 points for every $1 spent on the card. My sister has been a cardholder and devoted PC points collector for six years, and has redeemed over $3,000 in free groceries.
Cardholders of the Walmart Rewards MasterCard earn 1.25% of their purchases at Walmart Canada and 1% when shopping anywhere else MasterCard is accepted.
The most appealing part is its simplicity: Walmart Rewards are earned in dollar equivalents, not points, and the offer to redeem appears on the screen when you are making an in-store transaction. I don’t usually know if I have any reward “money” standing by, so it’s a marvellous surprise when it pops up (especially after I have just meticulously price-matched 18 different items from seven different flyers).
I immediately tap “YES!” to redeem, then strut out into the parking lot, triumphantly waving my receipt. What a rush.
Kristi York is a mom of two who has been known to experience withdrawal symptoms if her beloved flyers are not delivered on schedule.
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