About Clark Howard
Find more answers to your consumer questions, plus Clark’s book “Living Large in Lean Times,” at ClarkHoward.com.
Listen to Clark Howard weeknights from 6 to 9 p.m. on AM1290/95.7FM News Talk WHIO.
Are you getting the best price when you shop online? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to score the real deals.
Airlines have long used something called dynamic demand pricing (aka yield management) to determine the price of seats on flights. Historical analysis of sales, behavioral patterns of buyers, the rate of bookings and, even unemployment rates, among other factors, control the price per seat. No two seats are sold for the same price.
Now that idea has been spreading to other consumer segments, particularly online selling.
A recent Wall Street Journal analysis of prices on a high-end microwave was particularly revealing. The pricing changed nine times in a single day from $899 to $744. Not on a similar item — on the same exact item.
Even within an hour, price can change three times from the same online seller!
So the price is not necessarily the price. Most people won’t obsess to the degree of checking prices nine times a day. At the most, they’ll just comparison shop once among two or more websites.
But if you really want the best deal, you must check not just once or twice, but repeatedly. If you feel your time is worth more than the potential savings, that’s fine. Don’t do it. But knowing that prices never stop moving is very important if you’re looking for the absolute lowest price.
If you want an easy way to see if a quoted price is a deal or not, you can compare prices on websites like Decide.com or use a browser bookmarklet such as Hukkster. There’s also a website called DealNews.com
Cutting home Internet
I have long been predicting people would dump pay TV and go Internet TV only. Well, it shows what I know!
New data from a media research outfit indicates that instead of people firing pay TV, they are dumping their home Internet connection that they’d need to watch Internet TV in the first place anyway.
In fact, people are cutting the cord on their home Internet connection at a rate that’s 2.5 times faster than they’re cutting the cord on pay TV!
Why? In part, because of new large screen phones known as “phablets.” People are using these devices — along with traditional smartphones, laptops, and tablets — to surf on free wifi. And we all know free wifi is popping up in more and more places.
So they’re saving the cost on an Internet connection at home by cobbling together free wifi using their mobile devices on the go.