Negotiating with Computer Systems

I was shopping online for flowers and found a nice bouquet that I wanted to buy as a present. I entered my personal details, filled in my credit card number and made my way to the checkout page. There I saw that $ 15 was added just for delivery. It was the first time that these extra costs were mentioned. I firmly closed the browser window as I felt sure that I could get a better price at another online flower shop.

While searching for other online shops, I received an email from the online flower shop asking if I was sure that I wanted to leave:

Dear Customer,
We were so sorry to see you leave our site a few minutes ago. If you come back now we will be waiving the $14.99 Service Fee on any order that you place! From You Flowers offers Same Day Delivery anywhere in the US when your order is placed before 3pm in the recipient’s time zone!

I didn’t do a full search for other webshops yet, so I went back and confirmed my earlier order. $ 15 dollars off, that’s a good deal! Without realizing it, I had negotiated with a computer system.

There probably is a system in place that contacts customers that leave in the final stages of the checkout process. I am not good at bargaining in shops – I am a coward – but by showing the computer system that I was in doubt, I bargained without knowing it. The system of course didn’t recognize my emotional state of indecision, it was simply a matter of counting down time. It made me think what other simple negotiating skills can be implemented by simple computer scripts without entering the field of computer recognition of emotions.

I was always under the impression that prices on the Internet were fixed and bargaining was something you could only do in the offline world, with real people. Now I know better. How many euros and dollars could I have saved by simply postponing the checkout process?