New retail tools aim to solve e-commerce profit dilemma

phys.org | 1/16/2019 | Staff
Goobee (Posted by) Level 4
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Conventional wisdom in the Amazon era holds that the lowest price wins the battle of the retailers, leading many to just about give away items to make a sale.

Yet some data suggest a more nuanced reality: while 76 percent of retailers aim to sell goods at the lowest price, only 17 percent of shoppers say price is a dealbreaker, according to Forrester Research.

Discrepancy - Opening - Retailers - Profit - Margins

That discrepancy creates an opening for retailers to recover some of their long-lost profit margins, with new software to track prices and preferences to make sure the customer gets what they want hassle-free.

Consumers "want a fair price and it's not the lowest price," said Cheryl Sullivan, chief marketing officer for software company Revionics.

Revionics - Offers - Programs - Intelligence - Data

Revionics offers programs using artificial intelligence and data analysis to help retailers identify the best price to avoid money-losing promotions.

These new tools are among the wares on display at the National Retail Federation's "Big Show" that has packed in some 37,000 visitors this week at the Jacob Javits Center in midtown Manhattan.

Event - Heels - Holiday - Shopping - Season

The annual event comes on the heels of a strong holiday shopping season that saw solid sales, but profits suffered because of the reliance on heavy promotions and free shipping.

Retail share prices were pummeled last week after holiday sales reports by Macy's, Target and Victoria's Secret's parent and others that have shifted from traditional brick-and-mortar to so-called "omni-channel" formats.

Year - Trade - Show - Robots - Reality

This year's trade show again features the latest and greatest in robots, virtual reality and other gee-wiz gadgetry, but also plenty of tools to try to boost profitability in e-commerce, where margins are leaner than in the glory days when shopping malls ruled.

But digital commerce is no longer novel and customers have become less forgiving of delivery snafus, or promotional misfires, such as sending coupons for rock concerts to classical music fans.

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