I got some good feedback (via Facebook–no one seems to want to comment directly on blogs these days!) about my previous post on Walmart vs. ALDI. One of the comments I received was that I did not take into account “Buy One, Get One Free” specials or Walmart’s ad-match policy. That’s right: I didn’t. I was trying to get as much of a fair comparison as possible, and comparing one store’s everyday price with another store’s on-sale price would not be a fair comparison.
But what about Walmart’s ad match policy? Could you not just go to Walmart and get all the items there, but at the lower price they sell them for at ALDI?
In almost every case, no. Allow me to explain.
Below is Walmart’s ad match policy, copied directly from their corporate website. I have added parenthetical annotations, so if you want to read the original version to make sure I have not changed anything, you may do so here.
Walmart’s Ad Match Guarantee
“We’re committed to providing low prices every day. On everything. So if you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, tell us and we’ll match it. Right at the register.”
(Note that the ad match guarantee is only on the identical product. That means you are not allowed to ad match Great Value (Walmart brand) cereal for the same size box of Millville (ALDI brand) cereal. Also note that the policy only applied to advertised prices, i.e., specials at other stores. It does not apply to another store’s everyday prices.)
We gladly match the price in the following types of ads:*
- Buy one, get one free ads with a specified price
- Example: Buy one for $2.49, get one free (BOGO)
- Competitors’ ads that feature a specific item for a specified price
- Preferred shopping card prices for specific items that are in a printed ad
- For fresh produce and meat items when the price is offered in the same unit type (lb. for lb.; each for each)
(The ad match on produce is the only exception to the brand-for-brand requirement. For example, if one store has Chiquita bananas on sale and Walmart has Dole bananas, Walmart will allow you to ad match the bananas. But again, this only applies to advertised, i.e. sale, prices, not to another store’s everyday prices.)
*The following are guidelines and limitations:
- We will match any local competitor’s advertised price.
- We do not require customers to have the ad with them to honor a competitor’s ad, but we reserve the right to verify an ad at any time; we also require the store to verify the ad if there is a difference in price greater than 25% from the competitor.
- The system will prompt for supervisor verification at a 50% reduction in price or greater.
- Items purchased must be identical to the ad (size, quantity, brand, flavor, color, etc.). No substitutions
- In all situations Walmart reserves the right to limit BOGO quantities to one per customer or household
(You don’t have to have the ad with you, but the item has to be advertised in a current ad by the store whose prices you are trying to ad-match. If a store just always has a particular item for a lower price than Walmart, but it is not an advertised on-sale price, Walmart will not match it.)
We do not match the price in the following types of competitor ads:
- Items that require a separate purchase to get the ad price
- example: “Buy [item A] to get [item B] for $C”
- Items with no actual price that require a purchase to get free product
- example: “Buy both [items A & B] to get [item C] for free”
- Items that require a purchase to get a competitors’ gift card
- example: “Buy [item A] to get a $B gift card
- Buy one, get one free (BOGO) ads with no actual price given
- Going out of business or closeout prices
- Percentage off
- example: “All mascara, 40% off”
- Competitors’ private label price promotions
- A specific price that omits a specific characteristic of an item (Example: $9.50 on “all sizes or quantities” of an assortment)
We do not honor:
- Ads when the actual price for items cannot be determined
- Competitor pricing on One Hour Guarantee Items
- Misprinted ad prices of other retailers
- “Going out of business” sales or “closeout” prices
- Walmart reserves the right to verify an ad at any time, update or modify the terms of the Ad Match (Competition) Policy and its associated pricing strategies at any time.
Since ALDI is a mostly store-brand business, you will not be able to ad-match the vast majority of ALDI’s items at Walmart. You will only be able to ad-match items that are the very same–same brand, variety, and size–and that are in a current ALDI ad.
So, what’s the deal with store brands?
The economy is still not great. Wages for the middle class, when adjusted for inflation, have not gone up for decades. Many people need to do everything they can to save all the money they can. Not all store brands will work for everyone in every situation. Whether or not you like a store brand of a product depends on only on the manufacturer of that store brand (which is usually a closely-guarded secret) and also on your personal preferences. We’ll talk more about store brands, also known as private label brands, in a future post.