We (consumers) are getting used to customized online experiences. Our browsers know where have been on the web and remember our usernames and passwords (unless we specifically ask them not to). When we visit an online retailer, we often find ads for products we just browsed follow us in ads for weeks. When we return to that same online retailer, they keep anything we put in a shopping cart right there waiting for us.
There has always been the promise of personalized pricing, too. Back in 2000 Amazon.com was criticized for experimenting with the practice. What if we saw different prices based on whether we were on a site via a mobile device as opposed to a computer? What if where we lived influenced the prices we received? Today this happens — probably more than some of us imagined. In “How You Shop Online Changes The Prices You See” (November 6, 2014), Fast Company reports on a study by some researchers at Northeastern University.
This article might be used to stimulate a discussion on price discrimination and its ethics.