Personalized Pricing: Why We Don't All See the Same Deals At the Supermarket

Every shopper who clips coupons and scours supermarket circulars has access to the same deals, right? Not these days. Grocery stores are starting to experiment with personalized pricing, offering shoppers better deals on certain products based on their buying history. Is it a smart way to score deals or an unfair invasion of privacy?

Safeway and Kroger markets are among the first to offer individualized coupons based on buying habits, information which comes from the loyalty cards shoppers swipe at checkout. If you have a history of buying Kashi cereals, for instance, you might receive a coupon for a new type of Kashi cereal, while a shopper who never buys cereals from that brand would not receive the same deal.

Beyond brand preferences, retailers are also customizing coupons for shoppers based on the size of their households and even how price-conscious they are, offering "a bigger box of Tide and bologna if the retailer's data suggests a shopper has a large family, for example (and expensive bologna if the data indicates the shopper is not greatly price-conscious)."

While this customization is currently limited to coupons, Safeway says it has the ability to adjust prices based on an individual's buying habits and may add that feature to its personalization program in the future.

Read more: Shopper Alert: Price May Drop for You Alone at the New York Times

What do you think? Do you see these programs as a better way to save money at the supermarket? Or are they an invasion of privacy?

Related: The Best and Worst Supermarkets

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