n International Retail and Marketing Review - Emerging trends in retail pricing practice : implications for research




This article represents the first of several editorials to appear in the designed to examine the nexus between retail practice and research, with the goal of stimulating further research. This essay on emerging trends in pricing discusses recent advances in retail pricing optimization. We begin with a review of how retailers typically make pricing decisions using time-honored heuristics and attempt to infer the optimal decisions. However, current methods are sub-optimal because they do not consider the effects of advertising, competition, substitute products, or complementary products on sales. Most fail to take into account how price elasticity changes over time, particularly for fashion merchandise, or how market segments react differentially to price changes. In addition, many retailers find it difficult to know how to price merchandise when their suppliers offer temporary 'deals'. They are also generally unaware of how their pricing strategy influences their overall image. As these issues demonstrate, optimal pricing is not a static problem. Retailers must be able to react quickly to changes in the environment or sales patterns. This paper also provides examples of the more sophisticated pricing techniques that are currently being tested in practice. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of the critical components that must be incorporated into retail pricing.


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