The new Best Price Guarantee program will offer U.S. shoppers 110% of the price difference if they find an item for less on an approved competitor’s website.

Ebay Inc., No. 4 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Online Marketplaces, has expanded its price-match program to more than 100,000 items across its marketplace, up from 50,000 items.

The new Best Price Guarantee program will redeem to U.S. shoppers the price difference between eBay’s price and the lower price, plus 10%, if the shopper finds an item for less on an approved competitor’s website. For example, if a shopper buys on eBay a $25  toaster, finds the exact match on Amazon.com Inc. for $20, then eBay will redeem to the shopper $5, plus an additional 10%, for a total of  $5.50 in eBay credit.

The program replaces its old price-matching service that only offered price matching to items in its Deals section. EBay launched that program last summer. Now, the 100,000 eligible eBay products will have a “Best Price Guarantee” badge prominently displayed or can be found in the Deals and Top Products section of its website.

Shoppers who find an item—which must be an exact match and currently in stock on the competitor’s website—can contact customer service within 48 hours of their original purchase on eBay.com and will be issued a coupon for 110% of the difference once eBay confirms it.

Approved competitor’s websites include: Amazon.com (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500); Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 8); The Home Depot Inc. (No. 7); Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 24); Target Corp. (No. 17), Walmart Inc. (No. 3); Jet.com; and Wayfair Inc. (No. 13).

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Previously, eBay would black out certain days for summer shopping when shoppers were unable to use its price-match guarantee. But the marketplace giant says it will no longer black out days and plans to continue the program after the summer season.

This updated price-match program comes just in time for the back-to-school shopping season, which is the second-highest spending period for consumers after holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF predicted back-to-school spending in 2017 to reach about $29.5 billion on kindergarten through 12th grade and about $54.1 billion on college shopping, totaling about $83.6 billion for both online and in-store sales. The NRF did not supply confirmed 2017 figures.

“Summer is a busy, deal-driven time for shopping, and Best Price Guarantee gives eBay customers the confidence to navigate the season knowing they are getting the best possible price,” says Scott Cutler, eBay’s senior vice president, Americas.

27% of shoppers in 2017 planned to begin their back-to-school shopping two months before the beginning of school, up from 22% in 2016, according to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, which surveyed 7,226 consumers conducted from June 30 to July 5, 2017. In addition, 43% of back-to-school shopping purchases last year were influenced by coupons, sales and promotions.

Although Amazon.com is where most consumers begin their back-to-school online shopping search, eBay still has a chance to grab shoppers’ attention, according to an Internet Retailer and Bizrate Insights survey of 292 back-to-school U.S. shoppers conducted in July 2017.  Especially since 88% of its 1.1 billion listings are Buy It Now items, rather than those that require bidding to purchase.

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“Retailers have the opportunity to capitalize on shoppers who may already know what they need and are loyal to your brand,” says Scott Macon, president of Bizrate Insights. “This is a prime opportunity to showcase how your brand, products and services are different from Amazon and hopefully gain the sale now for back-to-school and in the future.”

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