Many purchases of differentiated goods are repeated, giving sellers the opportunity to engage in price discrimination based upon the shopper’s previous behavior by either offering loyalty discounts to repeat buyers or introductory rates to new customers. Recent theoretical work suggests that loyalty discounts are likely to be implemented when customer preferences are not stationary and sellers can pre-commit to prices for repeat buyers, but otherwise repeat buyers can be expected to pay the same or more than new buyers. This paper reports the results of a series of controlled laboratory experiments designed to empirically test the impact of these factors on pricing strategies, seller profit and total cost to consumers. Absent price pre-commitments, sellers in the lab engage in poaching when it is optimal to do so, but the ability to pre-commit leads to prices being relatively more favorable to loyal customers. Customer poaching increases seller profit and increases total consumer costs in the case of stable consumer preferences without price pre-commitment.
Brokesova, Z., Deck, C., & Peliova, J. Experimenting with behavior based pricing. ESI Working Paper 14-12. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/14