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Do you know what dynamic pricing is or how it’s done? If not, then this article will help you understand what it is. Not only that, but you’ll also learn how to avoid this problem, and save money in the process!

What is Dynamic Pricing?

When you shop online and use a retailer’s website to make a purchase, the site gathers data from each visit and purchase. For instance, the retailer will know what brands/items you prefer to buy, whether you’re a regular shopper or not and more. This is how data is gathered.

When it comes to dynamic pricing, retailers use algorithms to determine the prices shown on specific products on their site. The price may vary depending several factors such as:

  • Your location
  • Time of day
  • Device used for shopping (desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone)
  • And more

For instance, air lines are notorious for using this type of pricing. If you live in one postal code and would like to check on the cost of a flight, you’ll be shown one price. However, another person in a different postal code, viewing the same flight information you have, may see an entirely different price than the one you found. The price can be higher or lower, and it’s determined on location.

Many retailers use this method of pricing. However, we’ve put together some tips to help you avoid these pricing issues and save money in the process!

1). Clean out cookies and change browsers: when you shop online, the retailers will put a small bit of data onto your device, which is called a cookie. The cookie stays there until you clean it out. This is done whether or not you’ve made a purchase. All you have done is visit the site and left—that’s all that’s necessary to get the cookie stored on your device.

To get around this issue, be sure to clean out the browser cookies after each use. When you’re comparison shopping, it’s a good idea to use a different browser to do your research, and then another browser to make the purchase. For instance, you can do the research on Firefox, and then make the purchase on Google. This way, the retailer’s site will always view you as a new visitor, and show you better prices.

2). Use incognito mode: another way to have the retailer’s site view you as a new user is to use what is called “incognito mode” on your browser. Each time you visit, you’ll have a new view of the site, without any data being tied to you. The benefit of this method is that the browser clears out the cookies after each use and even if the retailer’s site recognises your IP address, they can’t tie this directly to you based on your purchasing history.

3). Don’t use Google to shop online: the longer you’ve been using Google and any of its products, the more data (information) they will have built up about you. This is especially true if you’re a Gmail user. Google tracks all of your online activities such as where you shop, what you purchase and more. This is why you receive ads that pertain to recent searches and/or purchases when you’re online visiting various sites. To keep Google from learning more about you and using this information in ads, just don’t use it when you shop. Another option is to stay signed out of Google when you’re not using their services.

4). Use different devices: when you’re researching prices online, another way to avoid dynamic pricing is to use various devices. This means you can do the research on your phone, tablet, laptop—whatever will work. You’ll be surprised to see how the prices change from device to device! When you find a price that’s good for your budget, use that specific device to make the purchase.

5). Use a VPN: are you familiar with VPNs (virtual private network)? These are services that allow you to change your IP address from one location to another, and sometimes even from one country to another. Remember, when you shop online, retailers store your location data, and then price products based on this location information.

Instead, choose to use a VPN service to mask your location. This way, you’ll find cheaper prices. It may take a little effort to find the best location with the lowest price, but the savings are well worth it to find the lowest price possible. One tip about VPN services—it’s best to avoid those VPN services—they’re usually ways to get your data, which is then sold to third-parties. Instead, look for paid VPN services that don’t sell your data and don’t keep log files. These are the safest options.

6). Use retailers’ apps: another way to find great prices is to use your favourite online retailers’ apps. This works because if they view you as a loyal customer, then they may send you exclusive deals and discounts directly via their apps.

You can also search online for current discounts and codes before you make a purchase. You’ll save money and use dynamic pricing to your advantage!

7). Lean the best times to shop: retailers regularly use dynamic pricing to determine when more of their customers shop online. This can be done by monitoring traffic to their websites. When traffic increasing, this is usually when customers are making purchases.

Studies have shown that Monday is the best day to make large ticket purchase, while Tuesday afternoons are the best time to buy air tickets.

One more tip—it’s best to avoid shopping online during the weekend, when everyone’s off work and making their purchases.

8). Use price tracking sites: to find the best prices online, use sites such as CamelCamelCamel.com or Idealo.co.uk. These sites track Amazon prices; they help you track prices over time, and even help you create Amazon price drop alerts for items you’d like to buy. Sites like this can even help you save money on more expensive products, but you’ll need to track the prices over a long time to find the best price.

These are a few of the methods to avoid dynamic pricing tactics, or ways you can use these pricing methods to your own advantage! Following a combination of these tips may help you save quite a bit of money!