Here’s more proof that Black Friday shopping is a competitive sport for retailers: Walmart’s new “Dare to Compare” promotion for Black Friday, which promises to match or beat the best online prices offered by several major retailers. Not every product is covered, but Walmart says it will check prices on certain items, including TVs, throughout the day, and revise its deals at least every hour, and sometimes as frequently as every 15 minutes.
The program includes Best Buy and Target, but it seems to specifically target Amazon and its rapidly evolving Black Friday deals. Yesterday, we profiled some of Amazon’s Black Friday specials, including Deals of the Day and Lightning Deals, which are spread over an eight-day period.
On Walmart’s Dare to Compare site, the fine print says that the retailer is tracking prices on select online items from a number of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depots, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. On the right-hand side of the page, just below the Dare to Compare banner, there’s a notice of when the five pages of watched items was last updated.
Although the deals change regularly, a lot of the TV deals early this morning when we looked were on secondary brands, such as RCA and Sceptre, though we also saw a few Vizio TVs. But it’s not just TVs: The price-beating program covers a broad range of product categories, from toys to tablets to kitchen appliances.
Here are some of the TV deals we saw early this morning, along with Walmart’s assessment of its competitors’ pricing:
- A 32-inch Sceptre X322BV-MQC for $140; Amazon, it said, was selling it for about $175.
- A 50-inch Sceptre X505BV-FMQR1080p TV for $330, compared to $398 at Amazon.
- A 55-inch RCA LED55G55R120Q 1080p TV for $450, compared to $520 at Amazon. (Walmart had this set for $400 this summer when it matchedAmazon’s Prime Day sales.) We reviewed the 65-inch version of this set.
- A 50-inch RCA LED50B45RQ 1080p TV for $370, $438 at Amazon. Walmart and Sears both had this same set during Black Friday last year for $380.
- A 55-inch Vizio E55-C2 1080p smart TV for $568. It’s $600 at Target and $630 at Amazon. This set is in our TV Ratings, available to subscribers.
- A 43-inch Vizio D43-C1 1080p TV for $298. It’s $326 at Amazon. This set is also in our Ratings.
There was also a low-priced 49-inch Sceptre U500CV-UMK UHD TV for $350, which disappeared briefly, and seemed to be nearly out of stock at Amazon. When we checked back later, the item had returned to Walmart’s site, and there were 10 sets on Amazon, priced at $420 each. It all goes to show how quickly these deals are changing.
We expect price competition to get even fiercer next week, as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While stores used to get locked into the deals they printed in their Black Friday circulars, in the online age, retailers can constantly monitor competitors’ pricing and make adjustments. So we anticipate that pricing this year will be especially fluid as retailers react right though the Black Friday weekend and into Cyber Monday.
Over the next week, we’ll be compiling a list of the best Black Friday TV deals we’ve seen, so keep checking back for news on where to find the biggest bargains. In the meantime, take a look at our top 10 Black Friday shopping tips.