Dynamic strategies for shelf-edge pricing in grocery retail

Female staff checking grocery products in shelf of supermarket.jpeg

Consistency is one of multichannel retail’s greatest challenges; offering customers the same value and experience at every point. And one area where inconsistency can prove particularly detrimental to a retail brand is pricing.

But getting the price right in every channel is often easier said than done. While price updates are a fairly dynamic process online, replicating those figures in-store takes a lot longer. This is a general challenge to all retailers, but sectors where price updates are frequent – like grocery – feel the pain more than most. As a result, an increasing number of grocery retailers are looking to smart technology to solve the inconsistency challenge.

Profiting from price wars

Competition in the grocery industry has intensified in recent years, driving prices down – particularly with the pan-European growth of discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl. In response, supermarket shoppers have become more cost driven than ever before, and are prepared to switch allegiance between grocery retailers in order to get the best deal.

Supermarket chains have answered this call for value in their online operation by price matching their nearest competitors, either in the figures displayed across their website or real-time discounts on customers’ shopping bills.

Equally, online grocery sites can be highly responsive to supply and demand, launching dynamic special offers on products that are overstocked or nearing their sell-by date. However, it is more difficult to replicate this agile behaviour in-store.

Keeping prices fresh at the shelf edge

To keep pricing changes in-line with the web, some forward-thinking retailers are piloting connected technologies such as Electronic Shelf Edge Labels (ESLs) in certain stores.

As the screens are updated digitally from a central location, any price adjustments can be made instantaneously across a store network – removing the awkward scenario in which a retailer is selling an item cheaper online than in-store. Retailers can even go as far as to show how their competitors are pricing items, to convey transparency and value for money.

More than that, ESLs can be used within the context of the store itself to increase sales and reduce waste. For example, fresh or ambient items that are nearing their sell-by date can be easily marked down to encourage bargain buys. Equally, special promotions can be launched to coincide with external influences – such as 20% off umbrellas when it’s raining, or a 2-for-1 deal on soup during a cold spell.

Enriching the store experience

In addition to making sure the price is right, many connected devices like ESLs and digital advertising screens can offer shoppers richer, interactive content. Detailed product information and customer reviews can all be displayed at the shelf edge, along with operational data such as how many items are left in-stock, enhancing the urge to buy.

This data does not have to be static, either; increasingly, grocery retailers are investing in smart store technology that can interweave photo or video content alongside text, to create a true multimedia retail experience.

Creating a smart store pricing strategy

With the help of emerging technologies, the grocery sector has the power to transform the way it manages in-store pricing. Weekly updates will be replaced by multiple pricing adjustments throughout the course of the day, to ensure the cost of items is consistent with the market, other channels, availability, and freshness.

Not only that, this agile approach to pricing can be integrated with interactive sales and marketing techniques, to ensure that supermarkets are driving sales, reducing waste, and offering customers the greatest value at every opportunity.

To see how your business can get the price right using smart store solutions, discover our Grassfish Xperience Platform.

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