Target app lured customers with lower prices, which mysteriously increased as users approached store

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“Somebody at Target programmed in an algorithm which says someone who is 50 feet within the store is willing to pay more. The most reasonable explanation is that you just revealed your commitment to buying the product, you’re in the store, or in the parking lot. If you are further away, you haven’t quite committed, so I’m going to give you a juicier deal. That’s why the price went up when you got closer to the store.”

How does Target know when you are inside the store?

When you download the Target app, it asks you if it can access your location. Enabling this allows you to see stores near you, and when you are inside a store it will show you where to go for specific items and deals. What Target does not clearly tell customers is it appears this function also triggers price changes as you approach the store.

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Miranda Artz, an avid Target shopper, first noticed this while buying an electric shaver last spring.

“It was $99.99 in the store,” said Artz. “So I bought it.”

But when she walked out to her car, she noticed the product on her Target app now read $69.99.

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She got out of the car and went back inside the store.

“By the time I had got to the front of the line with customer service, the app had gone back to $99.99,” said Artz.

She went back to her car again, and the price on the app switched again. This time she took a screenshot on her phone, showed it to customer service and received the discounted price.

h/t magenta_placenta


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