Offering your customers a price match guarantee is a great way to incrementally boost sales and – more importantly – build trust. When people see that you’ll match any price, they’re less inclined to check your pricing and less concerned about paying too much. As a result, the vast majority of your customers will never take advantage of the guarantee.
While implementing a price match guarantee can be difficult with after-market MAP policies (learn more about MAP policies for auto parts), it’s a no-brainer for OE part retailers. Here’s what you need to know.
Spell Out Your Policy
Before you offer a price match guarantee, you need to decide upon your policy and clearly spell it out for your customers. Here’s a format to reference for guidelines on creating your price match guarantee policy:
- Introduction and purpose of policy
- Conditions for printed ads
- Conditions for online prices
- If you’re going to price match during competitors’ sales
Exclusions should include:
- Prices offered on eBay (some parts are used, stolen, or counterfeit, and thus eBay prices should not be matched)
- Prices for remanufactured parts
- Prices offered by membership clubs
- Prices based on bundled offers or “buy one get one” offers
- Prices offered by companies that are out of stock (or have parts on backorder)
- Prices after rebate, or prices that require a coupon
- Limit the price match to one item per customer per day
Be sure to exclude price match on clearance items, discontinued parts, obsolete parts, or special order parts, as you don’t want to give away a part you can’t replace.
Go Above and Beyond
Why would a customer see a price on your site, see it cheaper somewhere else, then come back to you to purchase? Because you’re going to offer them some kind of incentive. The most common program is a 110% Price Match Guarantee where you will price match and offer the customer an additional discount. Here’s how that works:
- Your price: $150
- Competitor price: $140
- Price Difference: $10
Your 110% Price Match: You offer to sell the part to the customer for the competitor’s $140 (match) plus you’ll pay the customer 10% of the price difference ($10) = $139.
The additional 10% isn’t a huge amount of money, but the type of person that will take advantage of a price match guarantee is absolutely going to care about that extra 10%. It’s a good way to get them back to your site.
Get Ready to Tell Customers About the Program
Before you start advertising your price match guarantee, you need to be ready to handle it internally. First, your customer service reps need to be well-trained on the policy and how to handle it. A customer service agent who doesn’t understand the policy could end up costing you big time, and can even result in the loss of customers.
Also, you should create visible badges on your site to advertise your price match guarantee as soon as someone visits the page. This way, they don’t have to search, and it won’t appear as if you’re hiding it. They will perceive that you’re proud of your competitive pricing and ready to honor the program. Also, as previously mentioned, it’s a big hook for customers, so you want them to notice as soon as they land on the page.
Offering this program will prevent loss of customers over pricing. You may already offer something similar, but you don’t want to make people have to ask if you do or work for it. Clearly spell the policy out on your site with any exclusions so your shoppers understand what you’re offering. Offer them an incentive to come back if they see a lower price. Make sure your staff knows this policy better than your customers, and make sure it’s obvious that you offer it as soon as someone visits your homepage.