Retailers have always worked on a sliding schedule: release a product, wait a few months, check the sales data to measure performance and adjust prices accordingly. In the age before computers and eCommerce, this was a comparatively leisurely timetable. Now, retailers that fail to adapt in real time to even the minutest changes their competitors make to product pricing could find themselves behind the eight ball.
But dynamic pricing doesn’t have to be the privilege of just the retail elite. In fact, dynamic pricing solutions startup Wiser and CEO Arie Shpanya believe that smarter tech can help small business eliminate the initial burden of setting up a dynamic pricing solution for online and offline merchants.
"Wiser started as a simple solution for retailers by retailers,” Shpanya said. “I used to have my own store and sold on eBay and Amazon, and I had to manually track what my competitors were doing and update pricing on a daily base. It was tedious and we decided to scratch our own itch and solve our own problem."
That attitude would manifest itself in Wiser’s array of pricing solutions that span the retail continuum. Wiser’s WiseMapper helps brands keep a close watch on how retailers are treating their products, and for consumer-facing online merchants, Shpanya explained how its WisePricer and WiseDynamic suites allow retailers to design automated and customized pricing plans depending on a variety of market actions. If customers are paying more at competitors, retailers can specify whether they want to adjust their own items to maximize profit or total sales.
"WiseDynamic is an engine that helps the retailer to find the sweet spot for your pricing,” Shpanya explained. “We have a machine learning algorithm that learns the correct price point per SKU or per category as well as the premium that the customer is willing to pay."
Shpanya touted Wiser’s ability to find that premium price point as one of the technology’s greatest strengths. Certain customers will be influenced to pay more for a product, he explained, because of a brand’s reputation or add-on services like free delivery or support. By quantifying this into a price adjustment that customers will still find reasonable, Shpanya believes WiseDynamic can help retailers achieve much more with much less.
Where Wiser differentiates itself from some other dynamic pricing engines on the market, though, might be its solutions for in-store retailers. Though Shpanya explained that U.S. brick-and-mortar merchants are still starting to catch on to the dynamic pricing trend due to relatively high equipment integration costs, Wiser’s WiseDisplay system outfits physical storefronts with electronic shelf labels that enable online-like functionality in a physical location – a potential golden-ticket idea in a retail world moving toward the omnichannel consumer experience.
"WiseDisplay is something we’re excited about,” Shpanya said. “We think that it will be another step for retailers to compete with the giants like Amazon. When you go to Best Buy, you can get a price match for an item, but only if it’s sold by Amazon.com or fulfilled by a certain shipper and so on, and that’s something you have to do manually. That’s something WiseDisplay is enabling."
There’s no doubt that the retail world is becoming more connected, but merchants that can understand and analyze the nature of the fast-flowing sales and pricing data will be better situated in an evolving retail environment. Shpanya believes that Wiser’s data-centric solutions are just the kind of connective tissues that can help small and medium-sized businesses find exactly where they belong among all their competitors, as well as how they can price themselves for success in even the most competitive markets.