The fact is becoming clearer that price is king in retail. With Amazon and direct-to-consumer brands like Asos, Everlane, Warby Parker and others saturating the retail market, traditional retailers — such as Kohl’s — are having to really circle back internally to revise their pricing strategies and discover areas where they need to improve. One of the primary areas that retailers are uncovering as problematic is geo-pricing.
Retailers have known for a while that geo-pricing — tailoring pricing based on specific regions and locations — is pivotal to remaining competitive. In particular, the rise of Amazon’s dynamic pricing capabilities, which adapt prices every 10 minutes on its vast product catalog, is of increasing concern for traditional retailers. Furthermore, they are becoming all too aware that their current approach and infrastructure is too antiquated to deliver the results that they need to remain relevant in today’s market.
Simply put, pricing can no longer be tailored on a regional or city basis. Instead, it needs to be adapted and optimized at each store location to make sure that the most revenue is being generated, that margins are protected and that each shop is as competitive as possible.
However, achieving this level of granularity can be challenging and is often easier said than done. With that said, below are three key tasks that retailers can focus on to modernize their pricing and break new ground with their geo-pricing.
Many retailers are already comfortable and accustomed to geo-pricing. Yet while they might be familiar with the principles of geo-pricing, many retailers lack the necessary tools and experience to be able to drill down to the level they need to. The first step they need to take is to make sure that their technology stack is as modern as it needs to be, and is capable of gathering and synthesizing every tidbit of information — such as inventory data, local competitor data and more. Even though all shops will have some similarities, each shop has its own unique characteristics, opportunities and challenges. These all need to be taken into account to price products effectively and beat out digital and local brick-and-mortar competition.
Balancing Between Local Pricing And KPIs
With so much competition, it can be easy for retailers to get caught up in adjusting prices to “one up” local competition. But this can be dangerous if these adjustments don’t fall in line with their KPIs. Just because a price beats a competitor’s price doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for the business in the long-term. Pricing is a delicate balance. Lowering or increasing price too much can undermine a retailer’s “price-image” — or how its pricing aligns with the brand image and value they are trying to project. Simply put, retailers need to make pricing decisions smartly and need to be sure they serve the business as a whole.
Coping With Velocity
In the digital age pricing is more complex than ever, with a constant deluge of data being generated every second. What’s worse is that if any insights are missed, it can set retailers back significantly and can directly impact their bottom line. This is why it is so imperative that retailers invest in tools that can help them not only gather this data but also help them analyze it as well, at the most granular level. From there, retailers can get a better picture of their entire operation and then adjust pricing accordingly, both online and in specific physical retail locations. In addition, they can also keep better tabs on what competitors are doing on price, and where opportunities may exist and how they can potentially capitalize on them.
Retail is in a constant state of disruption and price has increasingly become a make-or-break battleground. Unfortunately, many traditional retailers were slow or failed to realize this and were either forced to scale back operations or close down completely. However, by optimizing geo-pricing operations now, traditional retailers will be able to continue to compete with digital insurgents. Moreover, they will likely be able to gain back the market share that they may have previously lost while pulling in new customers as well.
Julien Gautier has worked for over seven years as a marketing manager in technology companies. Gautier currently heads the marketing department at ActiveViam, raising the public profile of the company worldwide and providing insight for product development in retail.