How you shop online changes the prices you see

Our experience on the web today is so personalized—our Google search results and Facebook News Feeds, our Amazon and Netflix suggestions. So it makes sense that online retailers would try to “personalize” prices they charge for products, too. Except that kind of deal doesn’t sound so great to most shoppers, especially when they don’t know if they’re the ones getting the short end of the stick.

A new investigation conducted by researchers at Northeastern University provides a unique glimpse at how some online retailers engage in subtle price discrimination (charging different prices for the same product) and price “steering” (showing different search results that show products at higher or lower prices). Everything from whether a shopper was on a mobile or desktop browser to their history of clicks and purchases on the given e-commerce site seemed to have small effects.

Fast Company