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Retailers turn-up the heat to stay competitive

One option for retailers is to undertake Exhaustive Price Matching (EPM). This is a new service which allows retailers to compare the cost of thousands of similar products.

Dollar up along with S&P 500 ahead of US holiday
Image: © AFP/File
Image: © AFP/File

As shop price inflation continues to increase around the world, one way that retailer seek to stay competitive is by gaining intelligence on their rivals. This follows on from the adverse economic impact during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Policies and pricing can then be adjusted, based on what a competitor is doing.

However, given the current economic climate, price matching practices are becoming more exhaustive as retailers turn-up the heat on one another to stay ahead as the cost of living increases.

One option for retailers is to undertake Exhaustive Price Matching (EPM). This is a new service which allows retailers to compare the cost of thousands of similar products.

The software has been developed by price intelligence company Skuuudle, and it utilizes artificial intelligence to allow retailers to effectively spy on the prices their competition are charging for similar products.

In contrast to other price matching services, the EPM scheme enables retailers see the price of not only of branded goods but also of like-for-like products and of the price charged per gram. This approach is being used by retailers such as Asda, Primark and Lyreco.

A spokesperson for Skuuudle tells Digital Journal: “Customers use price to measure everything about your business, and they decide to buy from you when they are convinced the price and service you offer gives them the greatest value.”

“One example might be a competitor suddenly introducing a new size bottle of own-brand orange juice which is £1.10 for 900ml, where you’ve both always sold them in one litre bottles previously. Where other pricing intelligence solutions would leave those items unmatched, Skuuudle can make the connection and ultimately ensure you’re giving your customers the best price per millilitre.”

Other tactics that can be employed by retailers which can ward off inflation without hurting the pockets of the consumer. These include:

  • ‘Shrinkflation’ – keeping the price the same but make quantity smaller, fewer grams of chocolate, fewer crisps in a bag etc
  • Switching and swapping promotions – a rival may have previously done BOGOF promotions, but during the downturn has changed to ‘3 for 2’ in order to save costs.
  • Product design – find ways to reduce costs in the supply chain to strip out costs, such as investing in cheaper product labelling.
  • Product mix – Taking lower priced or lower margin goods off shelves to drive spend upwards without directly raising prices.
  • Identifying subtle marketplace changes through data analysis can provide retailers with an edge.

These approaches are being adopted by supermarkets as well as industrial distributors selling tens of millions of parts on their websites.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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