Dealing with Dynamic Pricing

We all like to think of ourselves as savvy shoppers who do what it takes to get great deals on the things we buy. However, the things you don't know about dynamic pricing could cost you more than you realize. This is even true when you think you might be getting a bargain on the things you buy.

What is Dynamic Pricing?

Simply put, dynamic pricing is variable or flexible pricing placed on goods that allow for price adjustments based on changing market conditions. As those market conditions change, so do the prices. It takes the concept of supply and demand to new heights as prices can adjust in real-time, and on a minute-by-minute basis. You might also have heard it referred to as surge, demand or time-based pricing.

A simple example of dynamic pricing involves holiday vs. post-holiday prices. Items in high demand for various holidays, such as chocolates or roses for Valentine’s Day and decorations or gift wrap at Christmas, will see prices peak ahead of these holidays as demand increases for these items. Then the prices for these items crash, often by 50 percent or more, the day after the holiday occurs. They decrease even further as retailers seek to eliminate the extra inventory to make room for the next seasonal items.

The same holds for seasonal clothing. Coats, hats, gloves, and scarves are much cheaper to purchase as spring approaches than in months preceding winter. Likewise, swimsuits are much more expensive to buy during the spring than when you are seeking the perfect swimsuit for your winter cruise.

On the Internet, the rules of dynamic pricing are even more complicated. That's why it is so crucial for you to understand what dynamic pricing is, how it works, and how you can make it work for you.

Tips for Bypassing Dynamic Pricing

These tips will help you avoid much of the dynamic pricing traps you will find when buying items at Internet e-commerce sites. Try them for yourself and see how much you stand to save.

  1. Search With a Different Zip Code

    If you live in an area where the income is typically higher than other areas, consider entering a different zip code, one in a lower income area to see if you get a different price. Don’t forget to disable location tracking features on your phone or computer when doing this to make sure it doesn't automatically update at the higher price location. This trick also works for people who live in more rural areas, where prices may be higher.
  2. Clear Your Web Brower's Cache

    Take it one step further and disable third-party cookies as well. You can typically do this from within the preference section of your browser's controls. Clearing your cache, erases your browsing history and prevents retailers from seeing if you've looked for this item from other retailers. If an e-commerce site knows you've been searching far and wide for a specific product, they will use this information against you and price it a bit higher.
  3. Navigate to Merchant Sites from other Discounters

    According to eBlocker, a provider of anonymous surging technology, navigating to a merchant’s site from a discount or price search engine can save you money if you do that instead of typing the retailer’s address into your browser. For instance, if you use a service like Google Shopping, Shopzilla, or PriceGrabber to look for items and compare prices, you may find better bargains than going directly to Amazon, Best Buy, and other merchants.
  4. Abandon Your Shopping Cart

    How many times have you placed a product in your shopping cart before getting distracted or deciding the price was too high and moved on to another site only to receive an email a day or two later informing you that product in your cart is now a different price? This tactic is used to encourage shoppers to buy an item at a new lower price if you don’t buy it the first time around.
  5. Set Price Alerts

    You can do this easily with browser extensions or by using sites like CamelCamelCamel.com or Joinhoney.com. Doing this lets you set the price you are willing to buy certain items at and will notify you when they go on sale.

No one wants to pay more than is necessary for the things they buy. The better you understand the ways to circumvent dynamic pricing, like those listed above, the better deals you can get on all the stuff you buy online and in retail stores.