Location data has been used by companies to help generate relevant ads and direct you to websites that are suited for your region, but interestingly Staples seems to have taken it one step further and now uses your location to help determine what kind of prices you will see on their website. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, they have found that depending on where you live, and how close you are to a Staples competitor, the price reflected on its website will vary for a product viewed by someone else living in a different state or different suburb. The report from the Wall Street Journal has also found that areas in which the average household income is higher have prices which are more discounted versus areas in which average household income is lower, whereby prices are actually higher.
Staples isn’t the only retailer who engages in these practice and the Wall Street Journal also lists retailers such as Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone and Home Depot as being some of them. When asked about it, Staples acknowledged that “in-store and online prices do vary by geography due to a variety of factors, including rent, labor, distribution and other costs of doing business,” but declined to mention whether average household income was taken into account. Pretty interesting but what do you guys think? Price discrimination is definitely not something new where some countries actually pay more for a similar product compared to another, but do you think it’s fair that an item can be priced differently for someone who stays in the next neighborhood?