by Brett

Online Shoppers Don't Like The Injustice Of Overpaying

from the just-like-the-real-world dept

For some time, online retailers have been charging different prices to different people, but apparently most online shoppers still haven't caught on. A new study by UPenn's Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that a majority of internet users believed the practice was illegal. Of course, it makes perfect business sense, maximizing what consumers will pay based on their known characteristics, as long as it's not unconsitutionally discriminatory or anticompetitive. It happens all the time in the brick-and-mortar world. For example, geographic considerations have long played into pricing (higher prices in richer areas) and have already carried over to e-commerce. More problematic for online retailers, however, is another finding in the Annenberg study: a large percentage of people -- 87 percent -- strongly object to these pricing practices. It strikes them as fundamentally unfair, and perhaps too invasive when they discover that their surfing habits are being tracked to enable it. Online retailers might want to be careful with these pricing practices, especially if customers get wind of them. Logical or not, the negative PR that ensues could do more harm to business than the profits gained.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    TJ, Jun 1st, 2005 @ 8:10pm

    No Subject Given

    If the greedy overdo it enough that it becomes widely known, they may get the ground-swell needed to make it against the law. Then think of the costs of all the documentation to prove they were complying with the law.

    Ya' know companies: A fair price for a quality product/service, and you should be successful. Once you start screwing at least some of your customers to further enhance the bottom line, you've got to know that sometime somehow that is going to bite you in the ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2005 @ 8:38pm

    No Subject Given

    I have noticed on several occasions (at least twice, verified) that has the ability to quote a different price for a single part depending on whether you found the part via browsing their site, or found it via a link from an external website.

    If the price isn't what you want to pay, go somewhere else. It's only realistic in a capitalist economy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Tim, Jun 2nd, 2005 @ 5:48am

    No Subject Given

    Yes, pricing strategies have long-since followed the path of penalizing someone for their attributes. For example, selling software on a per-server per-CPU per-connection per-seat kind of basis: one soon asks exactly *why* e.g. the number of CPUs makes any difference to the price quoted, especially if the software performs just the same regardless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    n/a, Jun 7th, 2005 @ 9:27am

    That's why...

    ...something like this seems valuable -
    I'm sure we'll see more of these.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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