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March 30, 2021

How Does Shopping with a VPN Save You Money?

Posted by Rhiannon

If you shop online, you’re far from alone. More than two billion people around the world use the internet for their purchases. It’s one of the easiest ways of getting goods and services right to your door, without the hassle of leaving your house. It’s also a common belief that shopping online saves people money; you can look around for the lowest price on any product. However, many don’t realize that ecommerce retailers may artificially inflate the prices of their products, based on what they know about you. This is called dynamic pricing, and it can result in you paying more without even realizing it. Fortunately, shopping with a VPN can help you avoid this problem.

  • What is dynamic pricing?
  • How does a VPN help?
  • How to shop with a VPN

What is Dynamic Pricing?

Dynamic pricing occurs when retailers change the prices of their products based on factors such as customer location, browsing history, and more. Location-based dynamic pricing is the least complex and most common use of this tactic. Based on your IP address, retailers can tell where in the world you’re shopping from. For example, a person shopping in Canada may see a different price compared to a person looking at the same product in the United States. Some retailers go even further with this; if they can glean your exact zip/postal code, they can inflate prices if you’re in a more affluent area than others.

The most common instance of dynamic pricing happens with online booking systems. Things like flights, hotel rooms, and car rentals are at the whim of the companies who rent them out. If you’ve ever taken a look at a flight, only to return to it and see that the price has increased, that’s because of dynamic pricing. The website took note of your browsing history (through your cookies), marked your interest in the flight, and increased its pricing, hoping to make more money from you.

If an online retailer gets even 1,000 customers to spend an extra five dollars on a product, they’ve earned an extra $5,000 in revenue.

How Does a VPN Help?

Dynamic pricing adds a level of unfairness to online shopping. Retailers inflate prices for shoppers based on an assumed income level, which may not match your real income. Fortunately, you can get around this by shopping with a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs get around dynamic pricing in two ways.

Normally, when you connect to the internet, all of your digital traffic travels through the servers that belong to your internet service provider. Websites can see the location of that server, which would be based in your country of origin. However, if you use a VPN, you can select a server in a different country to route your traffic to, thus changing your apparent location. VPNs also assign you a temporary IP address, which is another method websites use when identifying your location. By changing the one assigned by your ISP, your location is masked and changed two-fold, which can fool dynamic pricing.

How to Shop with a VPN

VPNs are a great way to get around dynamic pricing, plus they have the added benefit of increasing your privacy and security online. So, how do you use one when shopping online?

  1. First, start by choosing a VPN, if you don’t already have one. Make sure to choose one with a wide variety of servers around the world, to make the most of your shopping abilities. We recommend HotBot VPN, but you can pick the one that works best for you.
  2. Second, install the VPN of your choice on your devices. Most virtual private network services have versions for desktop and mobile devices, so you can shop in the way that’s most convenient for you.
  3. Third, every time you shop online, start by activating the VPN. Choose a country or region outside of your typical area, and be sure to change it a few times as you shop, so you can see any price changes that may be lurking, to get the best price!

Dynamic pricing can make online shopping experiences more expensive without shoppers even realizing it. But now that you know retailers change their prices online, you can get around it by shopping with a VPN!

Posted by Rhiannon

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