This month I had the opportunity to sit down with WisePricer CEO Arie Shpanya to discuss e-commerce, repricing and the evolution of search for 2015.
Below Arie, shares his thoughts on where search and retail are headed in 2015, and how repricing impacts online sellers.
1) It’s been a while since we last spoke.
Talk to us a little bit about who you are, the Wiser platform and the enhancements you’ve added since our last sync up?
Arie: co-founder and CEO of Wiser, a dynamic pricing engine.
Wiser: We’ve come a long way since we last synced! We’ve since built off of our flagship product, WisePricer, and re-branded to Wiser as our umbrella brand for the growing suite of products designed for retailers and manufacturers.
One of the key enhancements we’ve made is building out our analytics and dynamic pricing capabilities.
We see this as a critical component – allowing retailers to justify the impact of their repricing rules and strategies and see the results (after all, data by itself is meaningless – it’s about garnering actionable insights). How much did this increase by revenue? profit? conversions?
2) Shifting to the industry what are some common challenges retailers you work with face with pricing and merchandise?
Below are some of the major challenges facing retailers in 2015.
- Not knowing who the competition is / lack of visibility into the competition and their prices
- Not being aware of competitor pricing around the clock / difficulty monitoring known competitors
- Inability to aggregate timely or accurate market level data
- Not being able to reprice a large number of products in real time
- Determining what products to carry
- Staying competitive while staying profitable
3) As consumers increasingly use mobile devices to browse the web how do you think this will impact pricing strategies?
Having real-time pricing updates will be more important than ever. With the price transparency online, consumers know they have a lot of choices, and retailers are fighting to stay top of mind (or search).
Doing this manually and staying up to date is difficult, if not impossible, so the automation of pricing strategies and repricing is on the rise. For brick and mortar retailers, geo-targeted mobile offers is one strategy that could continue to become more popular as well.
4) What is a bold prediction that you have for retail online in 2015?
In the world of pricing specifically, fully automated dynamic pricing. We’ve seen the industry shift from manual competitor price monitoring, to automated competitor price monitoring, to incorporating the monitoring into rule-based semi-automatic pricing, and now the next step is full automation.
Machine-learning, complex demand estimation and algorithm-based repricing is what the future holds.
5) What has been your most proud Wiser milestone and why?
Scaling the team from 5 to 50 team members and becoming the leader in the space of price intelligence in almost completely bootstrap way. We took the entire team to Dominican Republic for a fun work remote vacation. It was our way of saying thank you, It was an epic and part of our work hard – play hard culture.
6) What advice would you give an online seller just getting started? Whose been selling for quite some time?
Whether you’re just getting started or are a more established retailer, data is your best friend, but it’s what you do with that data. Take a data-driven approach to pricing and merchandising.
For new sellers – competitive benchmarking your pricing and inventory and deciding where to position yourself in the market is key.
For more established sellers – what have you sold in the past and how did it perform? how are your competitors priced and how do you want your brand to be perceived compared to theirs? what are your competitors selling that overlap with yours? Are there gaps to fill in your inventory?
2) Testing is key
Data can tell you the effect that small price changes have on your key metrics before you make a big commitment to raising or lowering prices significantly.
3) Continuously optimize
It’s never a one and done game. What works well and what works best? Testing and leaving it all up to the data is how you’ll find your unique answer to this question. Retailers should never stop testing because the best price one day will not necessarily be the best the day after.
7) In your opinion should Amazon be viewed as friend or foe for retailers?
It’s a double-edged sword. For third-party sellers, the Amazon marketplace offers great visibility and reach, but in a hyper price competitive environment (including the behemoth itself). You may get a lot of short-term sales, but at the cost of long-term profitability.
For competing retailers, Amazon’s loss-leader strategy has been criticized for driving down prices (and profitability) for the industry as a whole. Not to mention showrooming. Not everyone competes on price, however, so while Amazon’s reach is undeniable, retailers are finding creative ways to justify a price premium by offering added benefits and value over them.
For more information about Wiser, or learn about repricing, visit Wiser.com.