Friday, May 09, 2014

Internet consumers find that their "profiles" affect the prices they are offered.


Online retail website prices offered to consumers vary according to demographic and profile information about the consumer available to retailers, a recent story in the Wall Street Journal and on ABC News Thursday night says.  The WSJ story, by Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Jeremy Singer-Vine and Ashkan Soltani is here.  One retailer mentioned was Staples. 
  
Demographics include zipcode, age, marital status, and possible social media behavior. 

The biggest concern might be that differential pricing will erase advantages to consumers of Internet shopping, where everyday items in rural areas cost more because of lack of competition.  Monday, I found that to be the case, as I drove along US29 south of Charlottesville and found almost no businesses at all for thirty miles;  the one small gas station did not have an operating restroom and relatively few attractive snack items inside.  The “boonies” really can have this problem.  I remember encountering this sort of thing in tidewater North Carolina (“David Lynch Pee-Dee country”) one time.  

But Likeonomics could enter into the picture. I wonder if this can affect the “best offers” on Priceline for airfares and hotels.


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