Blog | 29 March, 2018

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Real-time pricing: coming to a store near you

The advancement of mobile technology and the information held on individuals’ shopping histories means product prices could soon adapt as shoppers walk up and down their supermarket aisle.

Gone are the days of retailers only being able to actively manage the price of a small number of products once a week. Algorithmic pricing and real-time competitive pricing data allows the changing of product prices on the fly.

Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the process of price optimisation is now set to be faster, cheaper and more precise. With AI, grocers can set acceptable price ranges for any product, and prices could change in real time based on a host of factors such as inventory size and shelf life, as well as more complex variables such as the weather, time of day and day of the week. This means that promotions and special offers can go live more or less instantaneously – perfect for a retailer who wants to run a special offer around ice cream or BBQs in response to a sunny forecast.

This new technology is gradually being put into practice, with the US leading, the long term result being that shoppers will gradually refine their shopping habits to get greater bang for their buck.

One example of this is Amazon’s trial of Amazon Go, labelled “a new kind of store with no checkout required.” The company calls it “Just Walk Out” shopping, designed to remove the check-out queue. Shoppers simply fire up a Go app, choose what they want, and be on their way. Although still in its initial trial stages, Amazon Go could effectively remove the need for the cashier and also make digital payments more common than cash or plastic. Watch this space.

Whatever happens, it’s clear that AI is set to change when and where consumers shop in the future and what they buy.