It’s not your imagination: Online stores do change prices
Slate - 11/19/2014
You get the same sneaking suspicion every time you book a hotel or rent a car online: With each search, it seems the prices change, and you can’t help but wonder if sites are changing prices for you in particular.
Well, they are—at least in some ways.
A team of researchers at Northeastern University recently analyzed how e-commerce sites tailor prices to specific shoppers based on their digital habits and demographics, such as their ZIP code. According to the study, presented last week at the Internet Measurement Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, major e-commerce sites including Home Depot, Walmart, and Hotels.com list online prices that are all over the map, and in some cases, these prices are “personalized” to the behavior of particular shoppers, including whether they shop on a phone or on a desktop.