Science & Technology



Jim Rossman: Why do retail websites want to know your location?


Published in Science & Technology News

I received an email from a reader wanting to know why many retail websites he visits pop up a dialog box wanting to access his location. He said he never allows it, but he wants to know why they ask.

I can think of a lot of reasons.

Some of the bigger companies will even tell you why they are asking.

For example, I visited the Whole Foods website, and as soon as I searched for a product (salmon), I was greeted with a pop-up dialog asking my location.

The dialog said: “Find in-store pricing, weekly sales, and local products by selecting your store below.”

These are all good reasons for wanting to know my location. If I want to see the price for salmon in my neighborhood, I’ll need to tell Whole Foods my location.


You don’t have to tell them your home address, but they do want to know what store is closest so they can show exact pricing.

When I searched for salmon and didn’t give them my ZIP code, they showed a variety of salmon offerings. But when I did choose a store based on my ZIP code, the number of salmon items got smaller — not all were offered in my store — and the prices appeared.

I’m my younger days I worked for a grocery store chain, and I can tell you prices are not the same in every store in the company.

I changed my Whole Foods store from my Texas location to Beverly Hills, California, and the price per pound for Atlantic salmon was $1 per pound more expensive.


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