B&Q could bring ‘smart’ price tags and variable pricing to the UK high street

Online pricing innovations could move to the high street if B&Q ?? implements technology that it is currently understood to be testing.

According to reports, B&Q is testing electronic price tags that could change the price of an item, based on which customer is looking at it.

Wi-fi enabled shelf-edge price tags would recognise the customer by their mobile phone and offer different prices, depending on whether the customer has a loyalty card or their past purchase history.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of B&Q parent company Kingfisher, told the Daily Mail: “We have done various behind-the-scenes tests. It’s about special offers for individuals where we are looking at bundling offers or giving discounts.”

He also said that the company was looking at varying the in-store prices of some products from day to day, in the same way that airlines vary the prices of their seats.

“We could move to dynamic pricing and mimic the model used by easyJet,” said Cheshire. “Yield management techniques are not new – it’s just they haven’t traditionally been used in retailing. Pricing could be adjusted based on time of day.”

Currently, it’s reported, Kingfisher has introduced electronic shelf-edge pricing to its Castorama stores in France, and the technology could soon be introduced to the UK.

If introduced these approaches to pricing could echo not only easyJet, but the approach to variable discounts given online, where retailers such as Boden apply differing discounts to the products that they show different customers depending on any offers that they have been given.

Heikki Haldre, co-founder and chief executive of virtual fitting room solution company, said the move had implications for customers engaging in showrooming.

“B&Q’s plans for electronic price tags reflects the retail priority to invest in innovative in-store technologies in order to engage shoppers and combat the growing showrooming trend,” he said.

He added: “For the tech-savvy shopper, a personalised shopping experience is no longer a preference, it’s an expectation – and those retailers that can deliver a vastly improved experience are more likely to see their customers complete purchases immediately rather than watch them wander to a competitor.”

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One thought on “B&Q could bring ‘smart’ price tags and variable pricing to the UK high street

  1. Thanks for sharing this insight. This is the first time I’ve heard of personalised pricing. It’s interesting to me because it would link in very well to the work that’s happening around the personalised measurement of ‘community contribution’ that records and rewards the time that people give to community. Here in the UK, we’re moving towards a system that links personalised contribution to personalised entitlement and brands that are willing to reward citizens for helping out in community, are likely to be thanked by consumers that want to see businesses do more to help solve some of our more pressing social problems that cost UK plc so much in welfare payments.
    I’m just surprised that the leisure and transport sectors haven’t cottoned onto the idea of recycling all of their own spare capacity since it is simply wasted once the football game or cinema screening has finished. Dynamic and personalised pricing has the potential to become the next big thing in retail.

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