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What do you think about this type of pricing setting- technology?

From the customer's perspective, the most often asked question is "where can we get the best price?" in the response to the question came "shopping bots" These software agents search through million online sites to find the best prices. The more popular shopping bots include Bizrate, mySimon, Nextag, PriceGrabber.com, PriceScan.com, and Shopping.com. these sites do a fine job providing the potential buyer with comparative price information. But what about sellers? How do they know if the online selling prices they feature are competitive? Are they prices too high? Too low? How can these online sellers manage their pricing ? the answer of course, is "pricing bot". Pricing bot are software agents that adjust pricing automatically for the seller in response to changing market conditions. For example, suppose Barnes & Noble (B&N) at their own site (www.barnesandnoble.com) wishes to price the current top 10 cover and paperback fiction and nonfiction best sellers, at 10 cents below the price quoted by Amazon.com. thousand of times a day B&N pricing bot would search each title at Amazon.com, record the competitor's pricing and adjust B&N's prices automatically.

Question
01. What do you think about this type of pricing setting- technology? Do you see it as a help or hindrance to the seller? To the buyer.
02. What type of pricing strategy would a company be employing if it used a pricing bot to adjust prices to always have the lowest price on any given product?

Solution Preview

1) Shopping is part of basic human nature, and I will briefly describe how it evolved in the recent past.

Imagine back in the day before ecommerce. People shopped around, but they only went to stores within their own mall, or within a reasonable driving distance. If a company had a unique product that they knew that on one else had, then they would be able to charge this premium.

Then eCommerce emerged, and started to grow. Abandoning the traditional brick and mortar stores, consumers were now able to shop whenever, and essentially where ever. If a product was cheaper in California then it was in NYC, then people have no problem ordering the product from across the country. People searched for products by google, or using website that they were familiar with (I,e bestbuy vs. circuit city).

Now, the next generation of shopping has evolved, where a consumer could go to a third party company, and this company will do the searching for them - no need to search many different webpages, since the pricing bot will do all the work for you. The products apply mathematical algorithms to sales and inventory data to suggest price ...

Solution Summary

A discussion on the price setting technology applied by B&N.

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