Punch line: Online retailers are using sophisticated analytics and web tracking methods to tailor their offerings… and to get folks to pay higher prices.
To get the lowest prices: (1) Use a PC (not Mac or iPad), (20 don’t sign on from a ritzy location, (3) pass thru a price-shopping site on your way to the destination site, (4) ask to see items sorted by price — from low to high, (5) check out at least one cheap item — maybe even put in your cart — then delete it later
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Excerpted from WSJ …
Retailers are becoming bigger users of so-called predictive analytics, crunching reams of data to guess the future shopping habits of customers.
The goal is to tailor offerings to people believed to have the highest “lifetime value” to the retailer.
Online, seemingly innocuous information is available to predict shoppers’ tastes and spending habits.
For example, The average household income for adult owners of Mac computers is $98,560, compared with $74,452 for a PC owner.
Drilling down, Orbitz has found that people who use Apple spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.
More specifically …
- Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts, a significant margin given the site’s average nightly hotel booking is around $100
- Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users,
- When Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms.
Other factors that have influence over results include
- A user’s location (e.g. geo-targeting high wealth zip codes)
- A shoppers history on the site (e.g. purchases at list price or at discounts).
- The referring site (e.g. Kayak delivers price-sensitive shoppers to travel sites)takes those properties into account.
Caveat emptor !