How Grocery Stores Keep You From Comparing Sale Prices

While grocery stores almost always run identical products on sale as their competitor each week, they use the following tactics to keep you from comparing sale prices.

Overly Cluttered Flyers

Too many products, jammed too close together in a poorly laid out format, with tiny print. If you think you just saw that same product in another store’s flyer, it could take you a while to find it again to see which grocer has the lowest price. This is why our Sale Price Comparison Tool  allows you to see sale prices, side-by-side, without cluttery photos, and grouped the way you want to see them.

Inconsistent Categories

One store may categorize Orange Juice as Dairy because it is generally found in the Dairy case. Another store may categorize it as a Beverage, while yet another may categorize it with the featured Breakfast items this week. This makes comparing sale prices very challenging. We map the grocer-provided product info to a generic category structure based on what is most commonly found on grocery shelves.

Disparate Nomenclature

One store may refer to the snack as Sunshine Cheez-Its while another simply calls them Cheez-it Crackers and this could vary from week to week. We map the grocer-provided product info to a custom-curated product database so product names and categories are consistent.

Ever-Changing Store Brands

Grocery stores change the names of their store brands quite often, usually to take advantage of current marketing trends. For example, when the economy was tight and everyone was trying to get by with just the basic necessities, Food Lion branded many of their products under the My Essentials brand. That brand has since disappeared and trash bags are now marketed as a Food Lion brand product. Right now the stores are all launching or promoting store Organic brands. Our semi-automated method of collecting the weekly sales data allows us to make these changes to our database when the store launches or re-brands their products.

BOGO and Bundle Pricing

While “Buy One Get One Free” deals and X for $X deals seem appealing and draw us in, they make it more difficult to compare prices because usually you are not required to buy the multiples to get the deal. Sometimes the store doesn’t list the regular price so you have no idea that the 2 for $3.00 deal at store A is a better value than the BOGO FREE deal at store B where the regular price is $1.75. Comparing sale prices as they are published is virtually impossible. We always list the final price in the Sale Price Comparison Tool so you can easily compare across stores, regardless of how the price may be presented mathematically.


We developed our Sale Price Comparison Tool as a precursor to our soon-to-be-completed Sale Price Notification Service (name TBD) to address many of these problems that occur when trying to compare grocery sale prices. Sign up and check it out. We think its pretty cool. And it’s FREE! You can’t beat FREE!

Be sure to leave us a note and let us know what you think.



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