Tuesday 11 September 2012

reEpricing while you wait?

The fast-moving Internet pricing games used by airlines and hotels are now moving to online retailing via a new generation of algorithms that are re-pricing products on an hour-by-hour and sometimes minute-by-minute basis.

A goal is to maintain the lowest price-even if only by a penny-so that their products will show up at the top of the search results by shoppers doing price comparisons.  The most frequent changes are for consumer electronics, clothing, shoes, jewellery and household staples like detergent and razor blades.

Retailers find that changing prices more frequently can boost sales dramatically, but requires a lot of attention. First they set the software to beat their competitors by a certain percentage. Then they set a floor price below which they will not go.

For consumers, the result is more volatile pricing. Once the low-price vendor for a particular item sells out, rivals selling the same product can immediately lift their prices without fear of being undercut.

In effect, retailer Epricing is making the world's most modern market into the most old-fashioned, taking us all back to the laws of supply and demand, with lessons in pricing that can optimise our more traditional routes to market.....24/7.

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