Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on User Information

December 28, 2012
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A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. staples

More than that, Staples appeared to consider the person’s distance from a rival brick-and-mortar store, either OfficeMax or Office Depot.

If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price.

In what appears to be an unintended side effect of Staples’ pricing methods-likely a function of retail competition with its rivals-the Journal’s testing also showed that areas that tended to see the discounted prices had a higher average income than areas that tended to see higher prices.

Offering different prices to different people is legal, with a few exceptions for race-based discrimination and other sensitive situations.

But price-changing online isn’t popular among shoppers.

Some 76% of American adults have said it would bother them to find out that other people paid a lower price for the same product.

Story by Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Jeremy Singer-Vine and Ashkan Soltani for the Wall Street Journal.

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One Response to Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on User Information

  1. willy lump lump on December 29, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Wow, it took three “reporters” to write this short piece????

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