$1.69 for her and $.2.47 for you (we want her more than we want you)

How much does your grocery store like your shopping habits? Less than your neighbor’s? 

Companies need to worry about reputation risk. Public perception of unfair pricing and discrimination are serious risks. Look for privacy policies to be scrutinized and for the class action bar to be in the lead.

3 thoughts on “$1.69 for her and $.2.47 for you (we want her more than we want you)

  1. Grocers have long practiced price discrimination (people who have more time than money = coupon) (people willing to buy more at once = bulk) (people willing to drive farther = convenience). There is nothing inherently bad or good about price discrimination. In thousands of flea and farmers markets around the globe, people haggle in order to arrive at the right “price.” However, I do agree that if price discrimination is sever and seemingly arbitrary people may have a negative reaction. The key here, IMHO, is to be transparent. WHY does she get a better deal than me?

    P.S. I also see a useful app allowing people to barter their relative prices and/or trade frequent shopper cards for better deals. Haven’t you seen Extreme Coupon Clippers? Some people will go to great extent for a bargain.

  2. I don’t really consider your examples price discrimination. I know that if I shop at a bulk store, I can obtain a higher discount. I can choose where to shop. The different pricing is not forced on me and I know the different prices in advance.

    What about when the algorithm regularly spits out different pricing for inner city women of African-American decent than that received by suburban white women? Pick your minority, religious preferences, health condition, etc. HIV infected patients are charged more because they will pay obscene prices because they need the medical supplies, etc. In these situations, I may not know about the price differential.

    Your point about a comparison app is well-made. That could certainly level the playing field and encourage competition. If a person scans items and sees those same items cheaper elsewhere, that’s a good thing. there will eventually com a tipping point where it makes sense for the consumer to take his/her business elsewhere.

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