ACTIVATE “INCOGNITO MODE” ON YOUR BROWSER AND SAVE!
How many times have you walked into a store and noticed that the price point for a certain item is cheaper, or more expensive, than you’ve seen elsewhere? More times than you can count, right? Me too.
Why is that?
It’s not a question that we, as modern consumers, ask often; we’ve just kind of gotten used to this sort of thing and don’t really question it. Instead, we just kind of make a mental note to buy elsewhere, or come back to this store for the best deal. What we don’t do is stop to realize why this items is priced higher in this location, than another.
When it comes to online shopping, we question even less. The common misconception is that we are all looking at the same exact internet, so why would the prices be any different? Well, you would be surprised.
The Role of “Dynamic Pricing”
Price fluctuations from location to location come from the retail use of Dynamic Pricing – a system which determines price points from a variety of variables, some of which evolve slowly, while others constantly change.
For example, a car rental service next to an airport is going to constantly be offering differing price points, because the service’s automated dynamic pricing system is constantly calculating flights in and out, weather changes, cancellations, nearby hotel bookings, etc.
At its outset, dynamic pricing didn’t gain much steam and was heavily criticized when Amazon first put it into practice back in the year 2000 with DVD sales. Their test run was the box-set second season of the X-Files, which sold for $89.99, $9 $97.49, and $104.99; if you lived in an area that was statistically wealthy, you would probably see the $104.99 price point.
Despite the fact that this kind of dynamic pricing, based on location, had been used for years in the physical retail environment, online consumers (while the internet was still relatively new) were outraged. After all, part of the allure for making purchases online was that it was supposed to take away the window shopping aspect and put everything right at your fingertips, the same for everyone.
The Return of “Dynamic Pricing”
As we all know, only the new gets criticized and the ever-evolving tides of public perspective find new things to latch onto and criticize. As the times have evolved, and online practices have become more and more prevalent, dynamic pricing has wedged itself firmly into the online shopping sphere. It hasn’t come out of nowhere, either; it’s been alive and well since it first lost popularity – it was just quiet, at first.
Now, not so much. Companies such as Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone, and Home Depot all regularly use dynamic pricing and are having more success with it than ever with our browsers and phones constantly reporting our location.
How Can I Avoid Being Location Stereotyped?
Every browser has a little feature called Incognito Mode, which masks your location from the prying eyes of the internet. Turning this feature on, will keep retailers from giving you certain price points based on location. In some cases, you may find that the price points are better when Incognito Mode is turned off and in others, the prices will be more expensive. The point is that you’ll get to see what all of your options are.
A good practice is to have a browser that you designate as your online shopping browser. This way, you can have incognito mode turned off the majority of the time, unless you want to cross check a price, and don’t have to fiddle with your main browser settings too often.
Give it a shot – see if you save!