Price Points Episode 03:

Risks and Rewards in Dynamic Pricing

What are the risks and rewards of dynamic pricing, and how can you tip the scales towards reward? Travis Rice explains all in this episode of Price Points.

[00:00:11.590] - Grace

Hello and welcome to price points episode three. I'm your host Grace Baldwin. And today we're talking about the risks and rewards of dynamic pricing. Risk aversion falls on a spectrum. Some people are naturally more tolerant of risks but others try to avoid it like the plague. No matter where you personally fall on the spectrum though when it comes to big changes at work are warning bells start to ring. It's understandable. Tools like dynamic pricing do affect your job pretty dramatically and any big changes the way we work are enough to leave us with sweaty palms and an elevated heart rate.

But is the perceived risk around dynamic pricing actually valid is dynamic pricing really that big of risk in the pursuit of this answer. I sat down with Travis Rice one of our customer success managers here in New Travis switch with our enterprise customers to make sure they get the most out of Omnia and by conducting business reviews giving helpful tips and tricks and updates on where the product is going. Just from our chat it's pretty obvious that he understands the resistance to dynamic pricing deeply but that he will also talk us through that resistance until you feel totally comfortable with the tool.

Travis and I talked at length about the fears and risks around dynamic pricing and he gave me a lot of reasons why the practice is actually less risky than you might imagine.

So sit back and relax and enjoy this interview with Travis Rice.

Welcome Travis. Thank you for sitting down with me. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do here.

[00:01:45.800] - Travis

So thanks Grace. Name's Travis. I'm a customer success manager here at Omnia. My main responsibility is to help customers achieve value through our platform to really understand what they can do strategically and commercially with Omnia for their pricing strategies. So when it comes to our team as a whole I work directly with our consulting team. I work directly with our product team and many internal facets to really help us further understand what do customers need. What can we further iterate in our product to help them again get the most value moving forward.

[00:02:18.440] - Grace

Yeah I'm Hidde a Solution Consultant for already two and a half years now here at Omnia. Before it is I was at Simon Kucher, a strategy consultancy with expertise and pricing where I did projects for the German brand Miele for instance the paint manufacturer AkzoNobel. So I took a particular interest in consumer goods and retail so which is why I also joined Omnia where I help retailers and brands improving our pricing and marketing with our software.

[00:02:08.730] - Grace

So today we want to talk a little bit more about fear and dynamic pricing in the risk when it comes to dynamic pricing. So what are people afraid of when they think about dynamic pricing. I mean do you think that there is a resistance to dynamic pricing and why.

[00:02:31.970] - Travis

Actually I do and I have seen this as a reoccurring trend especially a lot of the new customers that we've been onboarding even some of the prospects. So. I actually think it's funny I come from a world of the background of marketing and this is what marketing went through five six years ago where a lot of the tasks were being done manually. A lot of the work was being done manually especially on the agency side and there was a huge resistance to automation there there's a huge resistance to the marketing automation whether it's you know big email flows or the agency side in the performance side of saying Okay well we don't want to give our bidding over to Google right.

And so at that time it wasn't necessarily more effective but today it is. So I see that very similarly here in the retail space in that I believe a lot of customers and in their executives are saying we're really a little resistant to moving towards a dynamic pricing model. We don't necessarily know how this is going to be advantageous for us or on the other side. We do know that this is something we want to move towards but we're scared in the process. We don't know how this is going to look both the change internally and the change for what our business outcome is going to be.

[00:03:46.970] - Grace

Why do you think people are resistant to it? Do you think there's a fear of a lack of control or a lack of oversight in it? Do you think that there's some sort of a fear within the automation itself that makes people a little nervous about it?

[00:03:59.700] - Travis

Yeah I mean I think people are inherently resistant to change. And I think when you have a process and whether it's the most efficient or not it's something that you're comfortable with and it's something that you know when you're changing that process it can feel like it's a little bit of a risk. Something like Omnia it's a platform right. It's not going to come in and tell you what your commercial strategy should be what your pricing rules should be. But I do think that it does force people to really understand and evaluate that themselves.

You can't use Omnia if you don't understand what pricing rules you want to put in place what those pricing rules are eventually moving towards in terms of your overall commercial strategy. And so I think that a lot of again that maybe that fear of that lack of control is valid right. I think that you're right to feel that way any time you implement a new system it does change your internal workflows and it does have an impact on your bottom line. But the thing that I would also encourage people to look at is what's the opportunity if we do change to this how much better can our internal workflows be how much more depth of data is going to be available to our pricing team. What can we then get insights from in terms of okay. We know that we're moving dynamically with the market because a lot of these industries these days that you wouldn't even think tires fashion. I mean obviously electronics is an obvious one but a lot of these industries have already moved to denim and pricing. And so if you're not in your resistance to it you're not necessarily saying well I don't want to be the first one to be moving here you will your competitors are. You also need to understand that there is a lot of opportunity cost to resisting this change and giving into that fear.

[[00:05:35.270] - Grace

How big of a change is Omnia?

[00:05:37.250] - Travis

I think it can be a big change. I think it can be a big positive change too. So when you look at Omnia as a platform again it does not work if you don't have a commercial strategy laid out. If you don't have pricing rules laid out if you don't know what you want to achieve with Omnia.

It's simply a tool and a tool allow companies to really transform the way that they do pricing let's say internal pricing team you're spending x amount of hours on actual execution and putting in this strategy week in and week out manually looking at prices manually making changes and think if you're able to put that number of hours in two more strategy. I think that is transformational in and of itself. When you look at the bottom lines knowing that okay the prices we're putting out there to the marketing channels that they're going towards it's going to impact the marketing department.

It's going to impact pricing. It's going to impact purchasing. We have a lot of insights in reports that can be taken in by the purchasing teams. So going through and getting better negotiations from the suppliers and from the brands themselves. So I mean I think when you're looking at that whole organization there is a ton of opportunity that's available. It's just depends do you want to give in to the fear of hey this is a brand new process this is a brand new product. It's a platform I don't quite understand yet.

Or do you want to say this is a great opportunity for me to learn something new and for me to make our organization competitive if not more competitive in the market

[00:06:58.580] - Grace

So the fears behind dynamic pricing I think that there's a lot of fear. Like when we flip the switch what happens next. And there's a fear of OK are we going to have a race to the bottom. Are we going to understand what's happening. Do these fears have any validity?

[00:07:12.770] - Travis

Yeah I think they do hold some validity and I do understand where they come from. You know I think the first the first thought that a lot of directors and executives have about dynamic pricing and what the impact will be is. OK. The algorithm is just going to make us the cheapest and then the competitors the cheapest and then where the cheapest and we end up having this race towards the bottom. It doesn't work that way. You know Omnia takes into account a lot of business rules. It takes into account minimum acceptable margins and there's certain fail safes that are actually in place.

So I do think that there are inherently like any new system any ERP system any marketing system any financial system. There are inherent risks if we just said here's a platform. Go ahead and use it. Right but Omnia has a team of consultants. We have an onboarding team and we have a customer success team that I'm a part of that really teams up with each and every one of our customers to make sure that they understand what are the safety nets that in rules that we have to be putting in place.

What are the types of data that we need to take into account. How do we ensure that we have the proper integrations. So I do. I do think if you just said more generally is there a risk to dynamic pricing maybe. How do we mitigate those risks and do oftentimes do we almost eliminate them. Yes. And so I do think that at the end of the day moving towards dynamic pricing is a very low risk high reward opportunity for many many companies.

[00:08:43.460] - Grace

How can companies tip that balance of risk and reward more towards reward? So we've already mentioned really understanding kind of what you're doing finding the right team. Is there anything else really that helps make this more reward than risk.

[[00:08:59.720] - Travis

Yeah I think the first it comes comes back to you need to be realistic about where your industry is moving towards. There is going to be opportunity cost with not moving towards dynamic pricing. If you're still doing things manually internally and changing your prices the market's likely changing if not every day multiple times a day. So I do think that that's a big aspect to take into account. But the other thing is if you want to get more reward out of this than risk again this is an opportunity to really define what sort of pricing rules do we want in place what is how does our pricing impact our overall commercial strategy and I do think that I've been surprised at some of the conversations I even I've had my time at Omnia with customers that these are the types of conversations that can go six, 12 maybe even 24 months without being re-evaluated.

Are you continuing to re-evaluate your strategy. Are you continuing to look back and say do we need to tweak some of our pricing rules. Do we need to get more granular with specific brands or categories in some companies don't. Some companies are really good at that and those are the ones that are getting an advantage in the field.

So the ones who are gonna get the rewards. Are we going back in and are we using Omnia for getting more granular with our pricing strategies and the reporting that we get back from the insights that we take. Are we then going back and re-evaluating as an organization or as a pricing team. Okay well now we had the first iteration how do we do better the next time how do we continue to iterate. And that's really the process that most people are going to see the most value from.

[00:10:39.110] - Grace

Do you think that that the fact that you're automating so much of the previous manual labor now gives you time to go over those insights and actually point a little bit better and and iterate and test and figure out what works and what doesn't.

[00:10:51.320] - Travis

Yeah exactly. I think that hits the nail on the head. You know us as humans we only have a certain amount of hours in our week some are willing to put more towards worker or you know more towards other things. But at the end of the day we only have a certain amount of time that we're going to be able to invest in our work. The more that we can allocate that to strategy the more that we can really move that towards collaborating with our team rather than the actual execution of work in the manual processes.

And you look at that over time the aggregate of that time saving the aggregate of that time going towards areas that are going to more effectively impact the bottom line I think is really going to increase the reward people will see from using dynamic pricing especially with a tool like on how do you think people can get comfortable with dynamic pricing from the start.

[00:09:45.770] - Grace

So what are some of the different ways brands can differentiate their assortment across different channels?

[00:11:38.750] - Grace

So you know I think a lot of people maybe understand that dynamic pricing is important and maybe at the point where they know that they need to find a solution but they're still not totally comfortable with it. Do you have any advice on how to actually just feel more comfortable with the idea of dynamic pricing.

[00:11:56.630] - Travis

Yeah absolutely. I mean first thing it's a you know self plug here but I would recommend reaching out to Omnia. We have a team of consultants we have a team of customer success managers like myself who are always willing to go through the process. I mean I thoroughly enjoy the conversations I have where there's question question question question because that's our goal we want to make you feel comfortable with not only the transition but the process and what the ultimate outcome could look like for you. It's not for us to define what your strategy should be or could be or what rules you have to put in place that's for you to find out that's for you to really determine internally you know what is important to us as an organization where do we want our focus to be.

But if you're feeling uncomfortable if you're feeling a call we don't know the first steps or here's a platform that we're not quite as comfortable. And I actually liked your question before about how do we know if we foot the switch that this isn't going to go wrong. Do you think that at the same time you look at the opportunity that's available to you you also need to be realistic in that this does impact organizations and it does impact jobs and I fully understand the hesitancy to move a process you know over to a more automated system.

The great thing that on our team provides is again going through the actual tangible fail safes that are in place what sort of catch all pricing rules you should implement so that things aren't missed. And the insights that you can get from it. So we're gonna be able to then kind of coach you through that whole process. And the last thing I'll say on this is it doesn't have to be a switch that happens right away. I think just like anything else every other industry the idea is hey we're gonna get this up and implemented and all of a sudden in three months or in six months everything's changed.

This is a process and it should continue to always be a process just like any other thing in business when you're rolling out a new product. You realize okay there's certain iterations we need to have or maybe we change the messaging on our go to market for this for this product. It's the same thing with your internal pricing right. So we're gonna start and maybe some companies start a little bit more conservatively and say that's OK you if you want to get used to the system you want to put in place the first few rules that are really going to start to impact it within a certain you know within a certain margin that's perfectly acceptable and then start to get more granular from there then start to iterate from there.

Not to say that the simplicity almost isn't more effective sometimes it can be sometimes these really granular plans right off the bat they're just too complex to understand and our system gives a really transparent way to see what pricing rules are impacting the final price. How did it get. How did the system come to that so that your pricing team can really say okay I'm comfortable with how Omnia is contributing to it. I understand how they made the pricing changes and I agree with them. So again I think it is. I see as a process I don't see this as a switch that you know we go from before and after.

And then it set it and forget it and I don't believe there is any really effective system that does do that. So I wouldn't view pricing the same way either its foundation piece in The it's all based on what it again come back to you what is your commercial strategy what are the pricing rules that you believe are gonna work best or have worked best for you. And then how do we start to automate that once you get the insights back. How do we start to iterate and get better and better and better.

[00:15:12.080] - Grace

How quickly can someone see value and see the reward of dynamic pricing?

00:15:17.260] - Travis

Yeah it's a good question and I think it again it's going to come back to how you wanted to find value are you going to be seeing in your bottom line week one maybe maybe not. Are you going to be able to start seeing process improvements once we do turn on on year once you do start to integrate that in with your internal workflows. Yes you're going to be able to see right away how is on your making these pricing decisions. Is it changing our pricing. Is it automated through my whole process at least as far as is we want to allow to begin with.

So yes from day one from a process standpoint the value is going to be instant. Now how does that value translate into the bottom line to increasing margins to increasing revenue. That's again going to be largely dependent on did we have the right pricing rules in place or do we need to re-evaluate those pricing rules to be more effective moving forward again. I wouldn't say Omnia is not something where you just set a specific target and say hey like in marketing I want to you know 3000 percent return on my ad spend Google go ahead and do this Omnia is not necessarily translated in that way again I think the value from the bottom line is going to be how effective is my commercial strategy in my realistic about where we're at in the market and what sort of pricing rules do I want to integrate into that commercial gee how effective are those.

So the two pieces that I see is the internal value side. That's instant and I will continue to grow as people get more comfortable with our platform. The revenue the margin and the bottom line business side that happens over time. And I think that's just like any other system. Again I'm all about iteration. I'm all about the process but it can and I think again you look at quarter after quarter after quarter that's when things get really interesting because the little iterations and the better that we get each quarter. Now when you start to look at year over year I think that's when things can get really fun for looking at the bottom line there.

[00:17:11.970] - Grace

Well thank you for sitting with me. If people want to get in touch with you. What's the best way for them to contact you.

[00:17:18.160] - Travis

Yeah if anyone wants to reach out. My email is Travis at Omnia retail dot com.

[00:17:23.130] - Grace

Can people also find you on LinkedIn?

[00:17:24.900] - Travis

Yeah of course.

[00:17:26.500] - Grace

Okay cool, I'll link I'll link that in the show notes.

[00:17:28.900] - Travis

All right sounds good. Thank you Grace.

[00:17:37.220] - Grace

Thanks for listening to Price points. I hope you enjoyed the interview with Travis if you'd like to reach out to him. Feel free to email him at Travis at the retail dot com or on LinkedIn. As always I concluded his contact info in the show notes so you can easily access it if you'd like to get in touch with me. You can also send me an email at Grace at a retail dot com or on LinkedIn and you can also find that information in the show notes as well.

I would love it if you reached out and told me what you think of the show, your ideas for future topics or how I can just make it better.

In the meantime though I hope you have a great rest of your day.

Show Notes

Omnia was founded in 2015 with one goal in mind: to help retailers take care of their assortments and grow profitably with technology. Today, our full suite of automation tools help retailers save time on tedious work, take control of retail their assortment, and build more profitable pricing and marketing strategies. Omnia serves more than 100 leading retailers, including Decathlon, Windeln.de, Tennis Point, Bol.com, Wehkamp, de Bijenkorf, and Feelunique. For her clients, Omnia scans and analyzes more than 500 million price points and makes more than 7 million price adjustments daily.

WebsiteLinkedIn


Music: "Little Wolf" courtesy of Wistia

To contact Travis Rice:

Email: travis@omniaretail.com
LinkedIn: Visit here

To contact Grace Baldwin:

Email: grace@omniaretail.com
LinkedIn: Visit here