A major digital retailing giant has created an industry out of the interpretation of consumer behavior patterns. Amazon has amassed billions of data points – buying histories, navigation trajectory, time spent eyeballing page contents.
After years of analyzing this data, Amazon knows which products to place in front of the consumer, and at what price. The digital retailer has brought online impulse buying into the mainstream, using a combination of dynamic pricing and too-good-to-be-true ‘Prime 2-day shipping’. With 1-click buying, everything from your new electric toothbrush to advanced scuba gear is literally just a click away.
The Amazon Empire
But this is old news. Amazon’s power resides in the data from which it draws its insights about consumers’ lifestyles and material desires. So skilled are they at placing the right product at the right place at the right time, that countless smaller retailers have set up shop under Amazon’s mammoth umbrella. Access to Amazon’s incisive data allows other retailers to aspire to greater sales heights than they could on their own, even while surrendering a portion of their sales income to their benefactor. The result has become a massive retailing fiefdom.
But this is all on the verge of changing. Wiser CEO Arie Shpanya says retail pricing intelligence is about “the right product, at the right time, at the right price”, so access to comprehensive data could be the factor that changes things.
According to this perspective, it’s not about the marketplace. The right product at the right price can be anywhere. The right time is a little harder to nail down, as digital consumers are notoriously flighty, but this is not an insurmountable goal.
If data is indeed the key to Amazon’s success, why not give retailers access to good data, without having to set up shop in Amazon’s marketplace?
The SaaS Solution
Wiser represents a new way of thinking; to provide the data to retailers using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Shpanya has been working to crack the code of retail analytics for years; working out exactly how one brings the best priced product to market, at the perfect moment. His studies of Internet law, intellectual property law, and contracts law have helped to make him an expert in the field.
With Shpanya’s company, Wiser, retailers can get insights that are derived from endless reams of data. Wiser tracks purchase behaviors related to more than 25 million products every day, in real time.
Wiser’s algorithms can give you the 30,000 foot view of almost any retailing industry. The need for assortment, demand variability, and automated margin maintenance are all resources that the company can offer individual retailers, in the pursuit of truly dynamic pricing. It is a way to achieve truly sophisticated and agile pricing, for small retailers who, in the past, had to accumulate their own data or simply “go with gut feelings”.
Can Wider Access to Data Break the Giant’s Power?
What difference this will make in the sphere of online retail has yet to be seen. It is conventional wisdom that in digital, there is only one winner. But the ecosystem has been around long enough now that we have already seen several of these giants fall. If access to data proves to be a democratization of retail insight, the effects will be felt everywhere products are sold.
What Do You Think?
Would access to customers’ buying behaviour help you? How much is such access worth? Share your thoughts using the comments box below.