This all started when I noticed that sometimes when I would decide against an online purchase, I would hear from the online retailer offering me a better price. Was this planned? Could I depend upon it? There was only one way to find out.
We asked 7 On Your Side interns Noelle Garcia and Lisa Lee to go shopping. They visited the websites of online retailers, picked out items, put them in their cart, and then went through the check out process. But right at the end, just before clicking the buy button, they abandon their cart.
"Signing up, backing out and waiting for that email," Lee said.
Waiting for an email offering them a discount. We want to know if playing hard to get gets us a better deal.
"You would get an email from the company saying thank you for signing up and sometimes they would say keep us posted if you want to purchase anything or here's a coupon for your next visit to us on the website," Garcia said.
There are secret sales, $5 off, 10 percent off, 25 percent off offers-- all for walking away.
"This is kind of like when you're at the car dealership, negotiating with the salesmen, and right as you're about to walk off the lot because you say the price is too high, he runs to the edge of the lot and brings you back," Extrabux.com CEP Jeff Nobbs said.
Extrabux.com is an online shopping site that keeps tracks of deals and then gives kickbacks to its customers.
"If you can take what feels natural, which is what happens offline, and put it online, then you have a winning recipe," Nobbs said.
Not every online e-tailer runs to the edge of the lot, but many do and Ross Kramer helps them. He's the CEO of Listrak.com, an email marketing company. He says Amazon has been keeping in touch with customers like this for years.
"If we can trigger emails based upon actions that they are taking on a website to add value to their user experience, and enhance the user experience, it is not only a win for the retailer but also a win for the consumer," Kramer said.
Which brings us back to our interns...
"It is surprising to see that right away, even hours after looking at their website and thinking about it, they would send you an email sometimes 20 percent off," Lee said.
"I personally wouldn't do this because I do not have the time to do this," Garcia said.
But if you do have the time, it's worth a shot.