Online retailers collecting data from shoppers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Every time you make a purchase or even just shop around online – you’re letting marketers know more than you bargained for.

For working mom Tara Dhar, going shopping is as simple as sitting down at the computer. She said she does about 90% of shopping for her family online and is loyal to a handful of retailers, and she’s always looking to get a good deal.

One thing she doesn’t think about though is the data some companies area collecting as she shops.

As online retail sales soar, experts say the amount of consumer data collected by online retailers is also taking off, and the information could affect what you pay for a particular item.

“Everyone wants to maximize the profit potential, and price sensitivities are going to vary between individuals,”

That’s because it can help companies differentiate between customers who are often willing to pay full price for new merchandise and those who will only shop if they’ve got a coupon.

“Discounting, if you’re a loyal customer, may not be something they’re going to offer,” said Mark Johnson of Loyalty360. “They know that they may not offer you that discount, so why should they try?”

If you don’t want to pay full price, always look for retailer promo codes, since using them will send the message that you value deals and avoid impulse purchases.

Sometimes the data they collect on you can help get you targeted messages and offers.

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