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BlueRidge
08-10-2012, 03:58 PM
NY Times has an article about personalized prices at supermarkets. I'm curious about what people think of this. The article mentions that some people don't think its fair and some are have privacy concerns. Do folks here have these concerns?

Here's the article:

Shopper Alert: Price May Drop for You Alone (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/business/supermarkets-try-customizing-prices-for-shoppers.html?hp)


It used to be that with dedication and a good pair of scissors, one grocery shopper could get the same coupons and cheap prices as another.

At a Safeway in Denver, a 24-pack of Refreshe bottled water costs $2.71 for Jennie Sanford, a project manager. For Emily Vanek, a blogger, the price is $3.69.

The difference? The vast shopping data Safeway maintains on both women through its loyalty card program. Ms. Sanford has a history of buying Refreshe brand products, but not its bottled water, while Ms. Vanek, a Smartwater partisan, said she was unlikely to try Refreshe.

MacMadame
08-10-2012, 04:08 PM
Well, given that I don't use coupons, I don't mind if I get thrown savings without doing any work. :lol:

As for privacy, these guys are collecting all that data now and have been for a while. Target uses it to send personalized coupon books to people, for example. I only think it's a privacy issue if they disclose my info to someone else, not if they use it on me.

orbitz
08-10-2012, 04:11 PM
I shop at Safeway and have its Club Card, but I've been resisting upgrading it to Safeway's new personalizing system though. I just don't like the idea that a corporation is tracking all my purchases and knows my shopping habit. Having said that, I do see that I save a couple of dollars everytime I shop at S.

BlueRidge
08-10-2012, 04:16 PM
But if you use the card when you make purchases they are already tracking your purchases so upgrading to the online program won't change anything I don't think.

I don't care if Safeway knows that I purchase lots of yogurt and not any meat. I'm not sure why that would be a privacy concern. I've already saved some good bucks with the new online personalized program so I'm quite happy with it. I was surprised to read of concern about it; maybe the NY Times was just looking for an angle?

Is there some reason why everyone should pay the same price? I never thought of that as an issue before.

Susan1
08-10-2012, 04:29 PM
Target uses it to send personalized coupon books to people, for example. I only think it's a privacy issue if they disclose my info to someone else, not if they use it on me.

Kroger used to do that. I haven't gotten any for about a year. Half of them wee for things that I have bought (Kroger card) and about half were for stuff I wouldn't buy.

For some reason whenever I get a coupon from the register, it's for the competitor of something I had just bought.

snoopy
08-10-2012, 04:31 PM
I don't *necessarily* see an application for consumer products but -

I once interviewed for a job at a bank. The goal of the job was to determine profitability by customer. So I would be tracking account balances, interest paid, number of times visited to a teller, number of times using an ATM, number of checks written, etc. - at the individual level. If a customer was not X profitale to the bank, the bank wanted to shoo them away.

With that in mind, I am a little leary of businesses being able to track so much information about us and our patterns.

MacMadame
08-10-2012, 04:36 PM
Is there some reason why everyone should pay the same price? I never thought of that as an issue before.

To me, that would be a bigger concern.

If you put it that way -- everyone pays a different price -- it sounds so much worse than "we offer discounts to certain customers". For some reason the first sounds wrong/unethical while the later seems reasonable. I guess it's the same in the end though.

BlueRidge
08-10-2012, 04:37 PM
I don't *necessarily* see an application for consumer products but -

I once interviewed for a job at a bank. The goal of the job was to determine profitability by customer. So I would be tracking account balances, interest paid, number of times visited to a teller, number of times using an ATM, number of checks written, etc. - at the individual level. If a customer was not X profitale to the bank, the bank wanted to shoo them away.

With that in mind, I am a little leary of businesses being able to track so much information about us and our patterns.

But that's all information the bank would have isn't it? They just aggregate it in one place? It seems like you'd have to keep your money in a mattress to prevent that kind of tracking.

If I buy products from a company, I'm not really concerned if they keep track of it. Certainly all online companies track your purchases since you can't pay cash. I suppose one could be concerned about companies creating profiles that allow them to be very manipulative in their marketing or something like that.

Now if we were in a situation where the companies were turning over information to the government for it to use for other purposes--such as using book purchases to look for people who might be "dangerous" in some way that I can see as a threat.

PRlady
08-10-2012, 04:55 PM
I'm still unnerved that when I visit news websites, there's a section flashing the clothes and shoes I looked at online and didn't buy. Zappos, Landsend, Macy's and more buy into this program, so their merchandise "follows" me whereever I go.

But I don't see anything wrong with food stores personalizing costs. For that matter, all the department stores send you coupons off when you've spent x amount there, what's the difference?

BlueRidge
08-10-2012, 05:00 PM
I'm still unnerved that when I visit news websites, there's a section flashing the clothes and shoes I looked at online and didn't buy. Zappos, Landsend, Macy's and more buy into this program, so their merchandise "follows" me whereever I go.

...

You know what bothers me about the personalized ads on the internet. (You should appreciate this as a PR person: ) I used to look at ads, particularly political ones, to see who was placing ads where and how many that kind of thing. Now you really don't know because they are all targeted.

skfan
08-10-2012, 05:23 PM
so if a supermarket somewhere decided to charge all customers with foreign-sounding last names higher prices for certain grocery items, would there be any way to detect this? they could say it's based on buying patterns if anybody asks questions, but if nobody asks questions, they could theoretically discriminate economically and clear their aisles of any undesirable demographic they choose.

i'm not saying it does or will happen, just curious to know if there's any way to detect patterns of this sort.

of course they could do this easily by not having an ethnic food aisle, not carrying certain goods a population is known to favor, and of course, most of the time it makes more economic sense to sell as much as you can.

PRlady
08-10-2012, 05:27 PM
of course they could do this easily by not having an ethnic food aisle, not carrying certain goods a population is known to favor, and of course, most of the time it makes more economic sense to sell as much as you can.

Besides, how would someone know what someone else was paying? When you sit on an airplane these days every single person has paid something different for their seat....

hoptoad
08-10-2012, 05:29 PM
Is there some reason why everyone should pay the same price? I never thought of that as an issue before.

I am uncomfortable with this. It doesn't bother me so much if they use my own buying history, but I do have a problem with it if they charge different prices based on age, gender, race, zip code, or other group factors.

Also, I want to know the price BEFORE I hit the register. It's one thing for only some people to get a targeted ad on their phone or by mail, for example, but I don't want to find out at the register that I don't "qualify" for the posted price. I tend not to shop at places that make it hard to figure out what something costs.

milanessa
08-10-2012, 05:30 PM
I'm uncomfortable with the idea. I do have one loyalty card for a supermarket - they give money off at the gas station if you buy certain items and I know my online purchases are tracked but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I try and minimize signing up for anything online that asks me for demographic info.

Jenny
08-10-2012, 05:33 PM
I am uncomfortable with this. It doesn't bother me so much if they use my own buying history, but I do have a problem with it if they charge different prices based on age, gender, race, zip code, or other group factors.

I've been to museums that charge more to tourists than locals, and bars that waive the cover charge for women, and a million places that offer a seniors discount or deals for families. For that matter, our car insurance just went up because we moved to a different zip code.

Targeted marketing and pricing has been around for a long, long time.