No Frills: No More Price Matching

Shoppers in London, Ontario are in for a surprise as No Frills once again changes their Price Matching policy as of Friday October 23, 2015.  A few months ago, No Frills made the move to stop price matching drug stores that sell competing products.  Even on their own PC brand featured at Shoppers Drug Marts.  Now, an insider revealed to me last night while I was price matching that as of Friday, they will no longer be price matching anything at all.   Word is, head office has handed down the directive to conduct a pilot project in lovely London Ontario.

No Frills We Price Match for you

London, Ontario has always been a consumer testing hub.  We have such a diverse population, so we are considered to be an “ideal test market” for the rest of the country.  Everything from debit cards, tea bags, McDonald’s Nugget’s to Tim Horton’s new dark roast coffee can all thank London, Ontario residents.

If you look at the employment pie-chart for London, there’s a healthy mix across major industry sectors such as manufacturing, education services, health care, technology and finance,” says Kapil Lakhotia, president and chief executive officer of London Economic Development Corp. “That makes it interesting to test new products and technologies here.

We have witnessed a massive swing in the retail markets over the past couple of years starting with the exodus of Target followed by Future Shop, Blacks and other retailers seeking shelter from Canada’s chilly consumer retail climate.  It looks like London is once again being the guinea pig for an even bigger move.  We have seen retailers like Food Basics jump on the price matching bandwagon after seeing a steady decline in sales by consumers who want to get the best prices possible all at one store.  After all, why pay more than you have to? Grocery stores have felt a hit in business thanks to conglomerate giant Walmart rolling out the superstores in urban areas encroaching into the grocery domains.  This recent No Price Matching pilot project could very well push all price matching shoppers to No Frills competitors.

While other stores change their price matching policies in effort to keep customers from flocking to super centers for one stop shopping, No Frills is choosing to do the opposite in London, Ontario.  Could No Frills change in price matching policy be yet another sign of retailers battering down the hatches in the recession that no one wants to publicly acknowledge exists especially during election season?

Curious, I called No Frills corporate public relations office to clarify the London Price Matching Policy:

I was told that the London Pilot project is a pro-active movement that will automatically match shelf prices to locally advertised prices by competitive and private label comparable brands in the immediate geographical trade area.

The “*Won’t Be Beat” guarantee is being replaced with a “We Price Match for You” guarantee.

If any major competitor flyer has a lower price for any identical product No Frills will proactively change shelf price to match lowest flyer price. Automatically.

Why are they doing this?

The internal memo which is not being released to the public, notes that only 3 % of all transactions involve price matching however, it can greatly effect the customer experience and speed in which customers can check out.  No Frills states that they take pride in their flyer and low price guarantee and that they know what having great prices means to their consumers.

The new “We price match for you, flyer to flyer” guarantee claims to automatically lower shelf prices in No Frills locations if competitors advertised sale prices are lower than in store prices.  No Frills claims No price matching by customers will be required.

It was clear in focus groups that were recently conducted that consumer trust in their prices is very important and in keeping to their commitment of low prices they are taking the opportunity to further reduce the prices on approximately 1/4 of their in store items.

No Frills believes this policy change will benefit the majority of No Frills customers as they will be lowering the regular prices of over 3,000 items in stores starting October 20th, 2015.  Price Matching will effectively end October 23, 2015.

I’m not entirely certain how they will be able to keep up with the ever-changing sale prices of competing stores sale prices and still stay competitive. It may just force that 3% of consumers to flock to retailers who welcome Price Matching.

This seems like a drastic measure to take for the inconvenience caused to the “majority of other shoppers” by the 3% of transactions that actually involve price matching transactions.   No Frills, along with other retailers, could consider an exclusive Price Matching and Coupon shopping lane instead.  This, would be a change both regular shoppers and frugal shoppers could both appreciate.

Many people who price match or use coupons do so because they have to.  Job losses and tight family budgets mean families need to be smart shoppers to make the most of their grocery budgets.  If transportation is an issue for you, it limits what stores you have access to to shop and you could be trapped with no other alternative and a shrinking food budget to feed your family.

We will see how London Ontario reacts to this new policy change.  Only time will tell if this pilot project will be rolled out nationwide or discarded like the McDonald’s pizza tested here in the early 1980’s.

 

Do you actively price match when grocery shopping?

How do you think this will affect your shopping habits?

Checkout this article on the Top 5 FREE Canadian Money Saving & Money Making Shopping Apps and this article: Meet Caddle: Canada’s Newest Money Saving app guaranteed to save you Money!

 

If you are concerned of have an opinion or question on this new “We Price Match for You” pilot project being tested in London, Ontario, I urge you to contact No Frills customer support either online or by phone

 

 

*Lower Food Prices means we provide lower food prices compared to full service grocery stores by reducing our operating costs.  We say ‘no’ to extras like: costly displays, expensive fixtures, big advertising budgets, costly overhead, in store meat cutting or baking in store. Look for “won’t be beat” slogan throughout our store and on some of your favourite items so that you don’t forget to simply show us if you find a lower price and we will match it.If a major supermarket competitor within this store’s geographical trade area offers a lower price on any item (whether the item has the above symbol or not) that we carry in our store simply show us an advertisement or receipt and we will sell you that item at the same price.  We reserve the right to limit price match quantities to a limit of 4 per item.  We will match the competitor’s price only during the effective date of the competitor’s advertisement or within 7 days of the receipt date.  We match identical items defined as same brand, item type (in the case of produce, meat and bakery), size and attributes or comparable items in the case of private label.  ‘Our major supermarket competitors’, ‘geographical trade areas’, and “comparable items” are determined solely by us and are based on a number of factors which can change from time to time. Excludes ‘spend x get x’; ‘Free’; and discounts  obtained through loyalty programs. We reserve the right to limit quantities.The “won’t be beat” program is applicable only to departments owned and operated by the No Frills Franchisee or Franchisor and does not apply to Gas Stations, or Pharmacy and prescriptions as defined under applicable legislation. The “won’t be beat” program does not apply to any other third party operators on our premises such as:  Fresh Meat, Fresh Seafood,Fresh Barbecue or Fresh Bakery Counters.

 

Comments

  1. David L. says

    On the topic of No Frills – but not the price matching topic.

    No Frills flyers are no longer being distributed by Starmail. The Loblaws head office made the decision to distribute the flyers for their group of companies by the Londoner instead of Starmail. That (in my opinion) is another bad decision. Ever since the change about a month ago, we’ve only received 1 Londoner at our house. So…. That means that when our bundle of flyers arrives at our house, we go through them and do not even know what No Frills has on sale to even consider going to the store. Poor business decision to chose an “alternate” method of delivery for flyers… Think about it. There are groups of competing car dealerships all grouped together on the same street (The “golden auto mile”) so that when people go car shopping, they can go to all the dealerships at once and comparison shop. By changing the delivery of the flyer from Starmail to the Londoner, the Loblaws group of companies have alienated themselves from the rest of the grocery stores.

    No Frills were affected by the decision by head office to no longer offer price matching, and now they will be affected by many people not even receiving their flyers anymore…

  2. kathy downey says

    With the raising cost of groceries, we all need to find a way to stretch our dollar and price-matching is one way of saving a few $s,its a shame they will no longer be doing this as it helps many people

  3. Aiane says

    Note:Ads and prices may vary by reigon so check your store to confirm. Below you will find the items that you can find at your Walmart for free or very cheap with coupons. Walmart has the ad match guarantee.If you are new to this check out this video on how to price match.

  4. Jason says

    Sometimes it depends on the cashier. Some will happily honour flyers from out-of-town competitors which opens up a whole new world for price matchers. There are also great apps out there, Flipp etc, I have my eye on a new one, which looks very promising. With the rising cost of groceries, we all need to find a way to stretch our dollar!

  5. Anonymous says

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    Frills: No More Price Matching is a little vanilla.
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  6. Cheryl says

    Such a shame that more stores are not price matching. I think it would bring in more customers and make they loyal if you could get it all for a great price at one store.

  7. Lludmila says

    I have carefully read the post and I have to agree with No frills on this (i.e. a small proportion of people price-match).

    Regardless, the price-match scenario is a detriment to all retailers and just shows that retailers are not forced to be price competitive…they wait until a customer tells them.

    Also, Wal-Mart is doing price match, just because they can…they don’t care if the customer shows a picture of the price of bananas on their smartphone based on an advertisement that could have been published 3 months ago..

    Wal-Mart could care less, as their motto is just sell the product and damn the other retailers, because they use this as a loss-leader to attract foot traffic to their store ( in the anticipation that the customer will buy something else…and they always do).

    So, the ultimate goal of price-match?…get that customer into your store. That’s all it is….so get rid of price match and this will force the retailers to be more aggressive in managing their prices (just like Adrian at No Frills stated) as retailers will become very sensitive when they lose foot-traffic (and revenue). No-Frills is attempting ot be profitable…not a loss leader…and don’t be mistaken, overall they are likely very competitive overall.

    • David L. says

      In speaking with Adrian at No Frills, he indicated that he believes that other stores will stop price matching too.

      We use price matching as a means of keeping our grocery bill down. We have now changed our grocery buying strategy. We no longer make the assumption that we will drive over to No Frills to get groceries. We now buy from the store that has the majority of the items we need this week. Some weeks it is still No Frills. Just last night we bought almost $50 worth of groceries from Metro on sale.

      We made it clear to Adrian at No Frllls that we are in no way boycotting his store over the policy change. We’ve adjusted our shopping to best suit us. Some times it involves No Frills, and other times it doesn’t. We won’t drive across town to save 10 cents on a can of soup, but we will drive to another store if there are enough products we need that week.

      • says

        I know what you mean. I can’t imagine this is going well for no frills. I have been doing 90% of my shopping at other stores when it used to be 90% at no frills. I know one store will not stop and that could mean local owned stores will suffer immensely.

  8. AD says

    I don’t actively price-match products, but the shopping market in Calgary is vastly different from that out in Ontario. We have very little price-matching within stores; the sales and discounts are nowhere near as steep and stores do not feel the push to be competitive. With the down turn in the economy here and many people out of work, I know there will be a lot of people struggling to make ends meet. It’s gonna be tough.

  9. M says

    I actually work at a No Frills in London and know that these stores lose a lot of money from price matching. No Frills is actually the first store to start price matching. This clearly shows the negative impact it had on the company. I also heard that other stores (Food Basics, to be specific) are also ending price matching. Since no frills were the first ones to do price matching, it makes sense for the others stores to follow in ending it.

  10. David L. says

    This change in price matching will most certainly affect how we shop. After the Walmart opened up in the Argyle area, I chatted with Adrian the owner of No Frills. He encouraged me to keep shopping at his store and price match Walmart. I have been very loyal to his store, and we do the lion’s share of our grocery shopping there. This change in price matching will affect that loyalty.

    This morning I went online and got a list of every time I used my debit card at my local No Frills store. The total since January 1 of this year is $3431. (That doesn’t include the many times I dropped in and paid cash for goods.) I am going to be taking over my 2 pages of debit card transactions and will be showing it to Adrian, and will be letting him know that the removal if price matching is why we will no longer by loyal to his store.

      • David L. says

        As I had previously posted – I’ve added up my debit card transactions for No Frills. That led me to check out all of my debit card transactions for grocery stores. The totals came to this conclusion:

        Adrian’s No Frills (Argyle) = $3431 (66.48%)
        Metro Clarke Road = $776 (15.04%)
        Freshco Highbury = $633 (12.27%)
        Others = $320 (6.20%)

        I am going to take these hard numbers and detailed dated transaction list to No Frills and will show them to Adrian.

        I’ve been very loyal to his store, but I’m not going to spend more on gas driving all around town to buy the sale items. I will be going to a store that does price matching, or at least has the majority of the sale items we need that week.

      • David L. says

        I stopped by and talked with Adrian at No Frills yesterday. I brought over my printout of dollars spent and showed him the dollars that would likely end up going elsewhere. He told us the same info that only 3% of the shoppers do price matching. If it is that low, why take it away? Another figure was also mentioned – he told us that price matching cost Loblaws stores Millions of dollars per year. (Really!?)

        We will do what it takes to run our household on a balanced budget. Our strategy for grocery shopping will now change. We won’t be driving all around town to scoop up sale items – we’ve never done that because it is cost prohibitive due to the gas involved. We will be reviewing the flyers each week and will do our major grocery shop for the week at the store that has the most items at the price that we need. As much as we like our local No Frills franchisee, and his staff – we need to do what we can to keep our grocery budget under control. Food prices have been going up-and-up lately. We will do what we can to keep it to a reasonable cost.

        In the past week, our shopping at No Frills totalled $5. FreshCo was $80 and Metro $14

        I let Adrian know that we aren’t boycotting his store, but our grocery shopping strategy has most certainly changed.

  11. KTouch says

    Wow. Just got the “we don’t price match anymore” from the cashier and was shocked. I was planning on price matching 1.75l of Tropicana Juice and it was a no go. Sorry to say No Frill and Co. This will have me already looking else where to shop.

  12. Andrea says

    If it works, great. And if it doesn’t, I sure hope they iron out the kinks and make it work for those of us that do price match, and specifically shop at the stores that honor it. However, with having a teen daughter that works as a Cashier at No Frills, I think we need to all remember that they are not the ones who set the prices, the policies or have any control over the situation. While working over the weekend, no less than 5 other girls, and my daughter, were berated or yelled at by customers who were upset with the price match change. Calling your Cashier names, yelling, swearing etc. doesn’t change the policy. It upsets people trying to do their job. It’s hurtful and and it’s uncalled for,

    I hope that despite the change, everyone can remember that being nice, even when you’re irritated by a new change to your normal shopping experience, just isn’t that hard. The Cashiers take the brunt of the frustration from customer’s and have zero control over the system. Please remember your manners when you shop, and treat people how you’d like to be treated. In the end, the change will either sink or float, but the Cashiers (or any other staff) are NOT paid to be punching bags.

    • says

      I couldn’t agree with you more Andrea. People forget, it’s not the cashiers who made this policy. I’m so sorry your daughter had to deal with that. There is no excuse for being mean and hurtful. Above all, people should have respect and direct their frustrations in a constructive manner.

  13. Cheryl says

    I am a loyal No Frills shopper in London who depends on price matching on a tight budget. I informed my store manager 2 weeks ago as of the 23rd I would no longer be shopping at his store. I don’t know how they expect to stay competitive when even Food Basics price matches now. The line they fed me was that all the other stores would be discontinuing price matching as well. Funny, when I drove by Freshco last week they were proudly advertising their price matching on a large sign outside the store. I understand Freshco only price matches 2 identical items instead of 4 which is what No Frills used to do. Why not change the policy to 2 if you are worried about losing money? No Frills has lost my business and my respect.

    • says

      I am too. I know that my local NF have seen a drop in sales due to Walmart in the same plaza now offering fresh foods. This clearly isn’t going to help keep them competitive. I don’t think that other stores will follow suit. I think everyone is watching to see what happens with No Frills in London. It seems such a drastic solution to the 3% that apparently price match. It would have been better to have a dedicated price matching/coupon lane so other customers aren’t inconvenienced.

  14. Andy says

    Went to my local No Frills in London (on Col. Talbot and Southdale) earlier last week and found empty shelves for my sale items I wanted. Asked for a rain check and was told they no longer issue rain checks.
    Went to the same No Frills yesterday looking for a price match on PC coffee in the Loblaws flyer and told they stopped price matching. I asked that the store manager be advised I would not be shopping there again.

    • says

      eek.. I didn’t know that they no longer issue rain checks. I think many people are feeling the same way, perhaps the stores will pay attention and not follow through with the new policy!

  15. says

    Do people REALLY that Loblaws or its associated chains have any real desire to proactively aource lowest price ? Come On people ! ..whats Really happening is the Weston boys have gobbled up Shoppers Drug Mart and feel less of a need to worry about competition ..but just to be safe they will try it in London first to see if it affects their business..remember these are the same people who continue to charge 5 cents a bag and claims its for the enviroment? right …typical Canadian retailer thinking they can fool consumers as they have for years …Walmart will be GLAD to price match ! and they will have my business ! I will dance on the grave of these inept retailers who just dont seem to get it ! Come on people rise up and Boycott Loblaws..Superstore ..Zehrs..Fortinos and Shoppers Drug Mart ! They say the rich and poor are even more pronounced now ..oerfect example the Weston Family ..

    • says

      I agree the divide between the rich and poor has become even more pronounced now. It’s very sad and disheartening for a 1st world country. Many people are upset at this new pilot Price Matching policy change. It can’t be good for them!

  16. Bonnie Bell says

    I just started price matching, I love it , especially since no frills is where I choose to shop, hopefully NF price matching for us works, would be much quicker and it means not having to remember the flyers, and less time in the checkout searching through the flyers. I find it hard to believe that only 3℅ of people who shop at NF price match.

    • says

      Me too Bonnie! 3% sounds awfully low! I love No Frills and always shop there, I’m hearing reports that the new PM policy isn’t going over very well. I think the idea is great, not so sure they put a lot of thought into the details of it though :(

  17. C says

    I was told about this by the cashier a few weeks back and her explanation was that the automatic price matching was ONLY for items in the No Frills flyer. If this week’s flyer is any indication it will be a total bust. The prices on all other store products will stay as is which means I will be inclined to go to Freshco or RCSS instead. Especially if there is a PC points offer. I do not see the advantage of this at all.

    • says

      Yes, only for items in the NF flyer. They were supposed to reduce the shelf price of over 3,000 in store products. I’m hearing that’s not really the case. I love RCSS and yes, especially when it comes down to PC points, that’s where my $ will be going for sure.

  18. Darla says

    Well they absolutely lied… I was in the check out line with a product that I had price matched (wasn’t aware of the new rule effective today) and the item I was purchasing was over twice the cost at No Frills… So they do the price matching for you? Only if they want to line their pocket

    • says

      So sorry about your experience Darla. Many of us loyal customers aren’t too happy with this change. Hopefully NF recognizes this and they decide to discontinue this new “pilot” project policy change!

  19. Wanda says

    Like another poster my heart stopped briefly when I read that No Frills will stop price matching. However, it might be a change for the better.
    I do price match sometimes, and recently I bought ten cans of Friskies cat food in NF, price matched to Walmart at 50c a can. (It is 89c a can in Shoppers!) I’d already bought 10 cans at Walmart but I had a points offer on my PC card so I bought enough cans at NF to get the maximum points. Unfortunately for the customer behind me, the cashier had to scan each can separately and manually correct the price on all ten cans. This is exactly the reason people will appreciate the new approach. I will be pleased to be getting the best price without carrying several flyers with me. I like No Frills for their prices and the products they carry. I rarely buy their produce as it is not very nice generally and I would rather pay more for quality elsewhere.

    • Louise says

      At Walmart, if one purchases 6 cans of the same flavour of cat food, it is easy to ad match as the cashier can use the quantity key. However, any purchases with fewer than 6 of the same thing, the cashier has to do each can individually, so yes, it takes time.

      It’s why when I’m ad matching cat food, I’ll make sure to get 6 of each flavour to make it easier for the cashier.

    • Annabanana says

      But they will only lower their price if it is in their flyer. Not all items in everyone else’s flyers, just if its an item in the competitors flyer AND in theirs. :(

  20. Rick F says

    I must admit your headline gave me a heart attackI price match all the time, love Flipp. There have been times where I’ve shopped at my local no frills and have had more items in my cart that are to be price matched than items to be put through at regular no frills prices. There have been a couple of times where I’ve wanted to price match an item and the store has already lowered their price to match the flyer. I think that this is a great idea – if the prices are already matched, it will save me the time from having to find that particular item in a flyer, show it to the cashier, smile at the people in line behind me for holding up the line…. I have one question though, if the store is going to do the price matching for me, will I still be limited to only buying 4 items?

    • says

      I agree, it can very well turn out to be a great time saver all around. I’m not sure about the logistics of it. Good question. I would assume since it’s basically at “Shelf price” there would be no limit. However, No Frills does put limits on their sale items. ie. 2 per customer/family etc. So I can still see that happening :)

    • Jeanne says

      No Frills is only pro-actively reducing the prices for items listed in their flyer. For example, if they have cereal on sale in their flyer for 3.99 and Food Basics has the same cereal on sale for 3.49, No Frills will automatically lower their price to match. However, if No Frills doesn’t have cereal in their flyer, their price will not be lowered to match a competitor’s advertised sale.

  21. Theresa Michalik says

    This is the stupidest thing you could do. You are going to lose business, like me for example, will be going to Freshco for now on.

  22. Erika Letson says

    I shop at No Frills in Woodstock, and they have stopped price matching too. I was not impressed! I tried to match a Zehrs price and they wouldn’t accept it even though they are both Loblaws stores. Oh well, I guess I’ll be shopping more at Walmart and Giant Tiger, where they still price match! I don’t entirely trust that the prices will be automatically matched for us….

  23. says

    It is hard to say how that will work, can we depend that the price will be matched for us? what happens if it is not, will it be like Shoppers? I will always find the lower price to verify. I do actively price match, food is so expensive these days.

    • says

      I Agree Tammy, So far, this only affects London, Ontario. It will either flop and they’ll stop it or give them their desired results and roll it out nationwide. It will be interesting to see what happens. Seems like an awful lot of work to do for the 3% that price match (they claim)

      • aribadabar says

        It is not because pricematchers clog the checkout lines – they simply hope that people will put up with this BS and keep shopping at their store.
        Hopefully shoppers smarten up and boycott this ( now) nationwide policy.
        They do not price match , they do not issue rainchecks on sale items – might as well close up shop as competitors will gladly do it and will take away their business.
        But people need to take action to bring about positive change.

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