Categories
Business Smart Merchandising Technology

How Dynamic Pricing Strategy Can Help Retailers

As consumers started shopping online and omnichannel, price is playing an important role. The Internet gives consumers the ability to compare prices instantly. A slight change increase or decrease can mean a customer lost or gained. Hence, the concept of dynamic pricing is quickly gaining attention. 

What is dynamic pricing? 

Dynamic pricing is a compelling strategy that can help retailers run their business profitably while keeping up with the competition across channels. To put it in simple words, dynamic pricing is changing the discounts, or markdowns, on the price of products based on their KPIs. It is also called demand pricing, dynamic markdown, time-based pricing, or surge pricing based on its application in different markets.

One of the most common examples of this pricing strategy is the end-of-season sales. While off-season merchandise is sold at discounted prices, goods that are not affected by changing styles or weather can be sold at a constant price or minimal discounts. 

Dynamic pricing strategy automates price adjustments based on data-driven algorithms fuelled by personalized information provided by each retailer. Factors like demand changes, inventory, and competitive data are also considered. To be successful, dynamic pricing needs to combine the age-old wisdom of the retailer with machine learning and adaptable software. 

How does it help retailers? 

Though the first advantage that may come to mind is increasing profit margins, there are many benefits of implementing dynamic pricing. 

  1. Create demand to keep the stock health and age in check

A rightly priced SKU, at the right time, can help boost sales. This helps in keeping in the freshness of stock and the availability of sizes/variants of a product. Products that are either discontinued, near expiry, or meant to last only for a specific period, need to revise selling price as per their planned lifecycle. If a retailer is handling this manually across categories and points of sales, it can become near impossible to track and monitor. With the right dynamic markdown algorithm, prices can be tweaked to control the sales of a product. 

  1. Understand your customers 

Collecting data is a key part of implementing automated dynamic pricing. This lets retailers gain insights into the consumer’s behaviour, patterns, and preferences. It can translate to more actionable data which can feed your algorithms to perform better, leading to an efficient pricing strategy. 

  1. Make informed decisions

Implementing dynamic pricing allows brands to access real-time pricing and demand trends. This can help make informed decisions on the price change of a particular product or category. Knowing the competition’s price trends ensures products are priced just right which aids in increasing sales and profitability. 

  1. Reflecting demand 

The digitally savvy consumer is often aware of changes in price as the demand for a product changes. Many a time, they are also willing to pay a premium to get exclusive access to a product. Similarly, it is known to them the prices of seasonal goods will change as the weather changes. Dynamic pricing lets you reflect the demand of a product at its price without compromising on the brand image. 

  1. Increase revenue and profits with a healthier working capital

One of the most significant outcomes of using dynamic pricing software is to take into consideration demand and supply, competitor strategies, and price fluctuation in the market. All of this data is crunched in real-time to deliver an optimum price for staying profitable. Dynamic pricing can be used to lower prices to increase sales, meet sales targets and avoid the accumulation of deadstock, thereby freeing up choked cash for the retailer. 
Try Increff Dynamic Markdown tool to gain deep insights on simple targeted solutions, to complex pricing problems without compromising on your brand value. Its smart algorithm recommends ideal markdowns along with the restocking strategy to ensure profitability and higher revenues, in the fastest time. Learn more about the Dynamic Markdown tool here.

Categories
Smart Merchandising Technology Warehouse Management

If you are going D2C with Shopify, Scale Faster with Increff

Retail started from local stores and expanded nationwide, cross borders, with e-commerce. E-commerce provided a uniform platform business for brands to compete on. The traditional legacy brands, having huge landmark stores and a dedicated customer base, had to wrestle with hip startups that were born in the digital era. As fast-paced technology started transforming the future of retail, it completely changed the way we shop. 

What was memorable about brand stores was the unique environment they created by capturing its essence within the four walls and adding a peculiarity in interactions. This uniqueness and brand memorability get lost in multi-brand marketplaces. Marketplaces are standard platforms having their own purpose, that masks a brand’s individuality. E.g. you become a Macy’s customer or an Amazon shopper but the brand you shop for becomes secondary. Hence, D2C seems an attractive channel to directly communicate with customers and own the relationship. 

Brands selling directly to customers own their most important asset; their customer’s lifetime value. 

D2C is an emerging strategy to disrupt the market. It allows brands to grow at their own pace by eliminating the middleman and earning higher margins. It helps brands:

  1. Directly connect with customers: Having direct access to customer data gives brands the ability to customize every touchpoint. Connect with shoppers whenever they want, through emailers, push notifications, etc. 
  2. Innovate: Data enables brands to understand customers better and improvise basis demand. Manufacturers can optimize existing products or create new offerings by capturing the trend early. 
  3. Build stronger brand loyalty: Using upselling and cross-selling options, retailers can create more opportunities for sale and build brand loyalty. 
  4. Increase flexibility and agility: Having full control over product supply and demand allows brands to become more agile. Gain the ability to read and react to change fast. 

Going D2C is not easy. It’s important to have a D2C specific strategy, which addresses:

  1. Initial set-up – 
    • Building your website – Using the right e-commerce solution, that is affordable, scalable, secure and low maintenance is important. Specialized platforms like Magento and Shopify, serve as all-in-one website builders that are easy to work with. They provide multiple payment options and allow omnichannel delivery. Our web-based WMS solution, Increff Assure, has preintegration with both these platforms and we can be your technology partner. Assure is a multi-channel order fulfillment platform built specifically for fashion and lifestyle brands to improve topline and reduce operational costs. It manages inventory by tracking every piece using Unique Piece Barcode, ensuring 100% order accuracy and improving operational efficiency. Through fast and easy channel integrations Assure can manage inventory across multiple sales channels, online and offline, and display 100% inventory across all channels simultaneously ensuring higher sales and better visibility.
    • Deciding CapEx vs OpEx model of operations – Understanding whether you can support direct orders to your warehouse or do you need a warehousing partner is a next step. Increff Assure can help you manage inventory in your warehouse. Our Warehousing as a Service (WaaS) helps retailers switch from the CapEx to Opex model of operation as we manage anywhere, anytime warehousing through our trusted 3PL partners. Having the right tech foundation at each warehouse helps brands scale efficiently as their business grows with the increasing demand.
  1. Supply chain challenges – 

Inventory management tech-solution like Increff Assure helps optimize inventory across all sales channels to prevent understocking or overstocking at any point in time. Our Regional Utilization model helps distribute inventory intelligently across a network of managed warehouses, based on true regional demand. It helps minimize air shipments, promote surface shipments and reduce logistics costs significantly to facilitate faster deliveries. Our pre-integrations on Shopify with reliable 3PL partners, Shiprocket and Clickpost, ensures complete order traceability and timely delivery. Increff Assure has inbuilt returns management solutions that very few WMS solutions provide. It help in rapid returns processing and makes good inventory immediately available for resale to prevent loss in sales opportunities. 

  1. Usage of data and insights – 

Increff Assure’s 50+ insightful, actionable reports help brands make calculated decisions on inventory and resource management. They help in inventory reconciliation, identifying channels of higher sales for better order management, tracking manpower productivity, and improving efficiency by highlighting, and correcting, loopholes in operations. 

Channel diversification is an opportunity to build a new relationship with customers. It is about giving a reason to customers to buy directly while ensuring the sales on partner channels do not get impacted. Offering unique services, loyalty programs, or subscription services plays a major role. Omnichannel brands can also decide on differentiating inventory across different channels e.g. D2C channel can be used for launching new products, selling premium versions of existing products, or a limited product line. Gaining better control over consumer data empowers brands to cater to changing needs by providing personalized, authentic service, and making it memorable. 

Categories
Technology

Opening our Libraries on GitHub

All of us software developers have been using open-source software for many years now. Some of the notable ones (for the Java guys) being:

  • Apache open-source libraries
  • NGINX
  • Apache HTTPD
  • Bootstrap
  • JQuery
  • MySQL DB
  • Jenkins
  • Artifactory
  • Spring framework
  • And many more.. !

Over the last 4+ years, we at Increff have built a repository of libraries to ease up software development. Slowly it became a dream at Increff to contribute back to the open-source community. We are pleased to announce that we are open-sourcing all our internal libraries on GitHub. https://github.com/increff

Here is a brief description of what all these libraries do:

commons-oauth2

OAuth allows providing the authorization required by an Application (the Client) to access some Resource on a Resource Server, on behalf of the Resource Owner. The commons-oauth2 library allows access authorization based on the OAuth 2.0 model. Specifically, using commons-oauth2, Google OAuth2.0 integration can be established in web applications.

commons-lang

The standard Java libraries fail to provide enough methods for the manipulation of its core classes. commons-lang provides some of these needed extra methods through a host of helper utilities for dealing with constructs like Collections, Date-Time formats, and Files among other things.

commons-sheet2

commons-sheet2 is a library for providing a structured way to perform file read and write operations. It is primarily used within Increff’s IMDB library. 

commons-quartz

Commons-quartz is a library for providing a background job scheduling framework in different timezones using cron-based triggers.

commons-printing

commons-printing provides methods to deal with printers and printing tasks. It allows the identification of available printers as well the processing of printing jobs on the printers. Using commons-printing you can fetch a list of all available printing services, select a printing service by name and print a document using a specific printer.

commons-mysql

commons-mysql contains a collection of classes and methods that allow interaction with a MySQL database. Various methods are available for performing operations on the database such as creating and dropping databases, pushing or pulling data to and from the DB, truncating or deleting from tables, etc.

commons-logging

commons-logging provides a custom log4j appender to manage log files. To avoid logs from eating up server disk space and systematically organize the logs, commons-logging provides Log4j appenders that name and manage logs created by running applications. Logfile management can be managed through parameters like max file size and max disk usage.

commons-Gmail

commons-Gmail library is created keeping in mind instances where we might need to consume a file that comes in the mail. With the methods available in this library, you can read the next or all emails from a given address or mark an email as read /unread.

commons-gelf

The commons-gelf library is useful for logging HTTP requests and responses using the GELF protocol to Graylog and to ELK for monitoring. It is extensively used in SaaS-based applications, especially in Increff’s Assure integrations as it provides a structured way to log JSON format messages.

commons-ftp

The commons-ftp library offers functionalities to perform various operations on remote FTPs such as retrieval of a file or a directory, moving files between directories, and deletion and upload of files. It finds usage in Increff Assure’s integrations to interact with client ERP systems.

commons-diff

commons-diff library can be used to compare two directories or files. commons-diff can be used to compare just the set of filenames in the two directories or, for files with the same names in the two directories, it can compare the files line-by-line. 

commons-browser

commons-browser is a library used for Browser automation and web scraping using the Selenium library. Using commons-browser, many of the browser tasks, such as navigating to a page, filling forms, clicking on items, etc. can be automated. It can thus be used for automation testing. To allow the interaction with a browser, Selenium requires a Web Driver. commons-browser makes use of ChromeDriver to simulate a real browser.

commons-template

The commons-template library provides templates for various applications such as invoices, manifests, etc in PDF formats. It is extensively used in Assure. It makes use of the Apache Velocity and wkhtmltopdf libraries for creating templates and formats. It provides methods that take as input the parameters to be populated in the PDF along with the .io.vm template resource files. After this, it can generate a PDF output based on the provided template + parameters.

commons-fileclient

This library is used for storage and retrieval of documents from cloud storage platforms such as Google Cloud Storage, Amazon S3, etc. An abstract class contains the methods to create, read, delete and write objects from any of the mentioned storage locations. 

Categories
Smart Merchandising Technology

Inter-store transfers – Reshuffle inventory for optimum sales

As an established retailer, you require a wide range of styles in multiple sizes to meet the customer demand. The need for instant gratification has become a dominant force in retail, hence the primary requirement of having the right stock available in the right place at the right time. 

Constraints on store space, minimum display requirements, and demand forecast based on limited data availability, initially determined how the inventory will be allocated across a chain of stores. All these constraints led to overstocking and understocking across stores a few weeks after the season launch.

In situations where there’s excess stock present in stores with low demand, or when the fresh inventory becomes leaner in terms of width and depth in stores with higher demand, inter-store transfers help in improving stock availability. It is a process of re-distributing the existing inventory among the stores and making corrections to the allocations done during the pre-planning period.

Since every decision involves the resources of cost and time, retailers need to analyze the requirements and benefits before making these shifts. Inventory optimization through inter-store transfer has several benefits:

  • Improve inventory health – Boost sales of slow-moving articles by reallocating them to top-performing stores.
  • Increase inventory turns – Increase sales of available stock by redistributing its basis true in-season regional demand.
  • Improve stock cover and reduce stock-outs at SKU level – Minimize loss of sales by identifying the true Rate of Sale (ROS) for every SKU at the store-level. Ensure there is no over-stocking nor understocking anywhere which directly impacts the top line and margins. 
  • Increase full price sell-thru – Push stock from the stores with lower footfalls to those with higher footfalls and higher bill value. This directly increases the chances of selling at full price, thus impacting the top line and margins.  
  • Reduce brokenness: Minimize the broken stock (styles with only fringe sizes available) by consolidating broken stock from all the stores and transferring full-size sets to the ones where the likelihood of selling is maximum as per the latest trends.
  • Improve Omni-Channel distribution: Identify the right stock to be pulled out of Offline stores and transfer them to the Click and Collect stores or other stores that can be used as hubs for online fulfillment.

Increff Iris, our smart merchandising tool, helps in inter-store transfer to optimize stock at the most granular level. By calculating the ideal requirement for every Store + SKU, it utilizes excess inventory to improve stock health and has consistently helped bands achieve 20-30% improvement in stock health and ~30% improvement in sales. 

One of India’s leading formal wear brands used Increff Iris across 150+ brand outlets and witnessed a 40% increase in sales at the receiving store. It reduced brokenness by ~40% and prevented sales loss. One of the well-known International brands, expanding operations in India, reduced brokenness by 34% and uplifted sales by ~80% for the transferred stock. The overall store sales increased by 66%. 

Overstocking and understocking are some of the major challenges in retail. It not only limits proper exposure of inventory but also hugely impacts topline revenue and bottom-line margins. Increff Iris helps you make quick decisions on stock adjustments basis true demand patterns so the optimum potential of your brand can be realized, any time of the year. 

Categories
Smart Merchandising Technology

Making online shopping easy. Give more than what your customers want

The rise of the internet and tech-advancements have moulded the way consumers connect with a brand. This relationship is now more value-driven and personal. While shopping has been around since history itself, the way we shop evolved dramatically with the rise of e-commerce. Digital Darwinism played a critical role in pushing companies to take the online route as the role of brick-and-mortar stores gradually shifted to healthy support structures that assist brands in selling on multiple marketplaces. 

“Digitization is no longer an option, it is a necessity.”

 Recent technological shifts have only moved in the direction to make e-commerce stronger and robust by empowering the consumer base. Providing an equal opportunity to homegrown brands to scale up operations and leverage digital infrastructure to compete with global brands, e-commerce extends power to customers to determine the true value of a brand. Today we are catering to a population that is digitally native and globally-connected. Sellers need to put the right technology in place that helps them serve customers better. 

“It’s much easier to lose customers today than attract new ones.”

To address major e-commerce challenges, Increff has designed specific solutions that help retailers address basic customer needs like:

  1. Full visibility of a range of products across multiple marketplaces, simultaneously – Since your customer can be anywhere, expose 100% inventory across all marketplaces with no bucketing or dedicated stock. Help your customers locate you, wherever convenient for them. 
  2. ~100% order accuracy – Use technologies like barcode scanning, bin mapping and photo identification to ensure the right product is picked and packed for your customer. With zero human errors or delays, guarantee precision and efficiency.
  3. Don’t hinder conversions, make shopping convenient – Live Inventory- order sync feature, lets your customer know stock availability instantly. Reduce order cancellations and disappointments by giving your customers a chance, at the perfect time, to select an alternative option as soon as their product of choice is low in stock or over. 
  4. Faster, accurate order fulfillment – Ecommerce is highly competitive and price-sensitive, hence distributed warehousing is the way forward. Effective, intelligent regional utilization helps reduce logistics costs by increasing surface shipments and delivering the perfect order from the closest local warehouse. This means faster deliveries at the lowest cost.

 The benefits extend to retailers in several ways, such as:

  1. 100% remote onboarding – Our tech-solutions are built for right-first-time foolproof operations. Through self-learning tutorials and fully scan-based operations, no expert supervision is required in 100% remote onboarding. This ensures the deployment is fast and friction-less.
  2. Easy Deployment – Advanced technology solutions integrate with, or replace the existing system seamlessly and rapidly to ensure no loss in sales. The transition is quick and effortless with a simple UI/UX designed interface that can be learned in no time and requires zero decision making. There is less dependency on skilled labour and more focus on delivering results.
  3. Efficient resource management, ideal picking, and packing – Fully automated, scan-based systems and error-proof operations ensure efficient working of each resource. From tracking every piece in the inventory to mapping every human action in the warehouse, the tool ensures accurate and fast order picking. No piece gets stuck or lost in the warehouse. We have proven competency in achieving ~99.9% fulfillment within SLA. 
  4. Faster return processing – About 20-30% of e-commerce orders are returned, not due to any defect but because customers habitually purchase more for in-hand comparison. Retailers incur heavy logistics costs on these returns and have a huge impact on the bottom-line and margins. Convert these returns into profits by expediting the return process. Simplify system complexities and make your inventory live and available for sale, almost instantly.

As e-commerce becomes more competitive, brands have a tough road to tread. The right tech support is necessary to not only develop one-upmanship but also predict the future in time to take appropriate action. Increff Assure removes complexity in inventory management and order processing and creates a user experience that is free of clutter, smooth, and fulfilling. Get Assured to know the difference!

Categories
Technology

Black Friday Sale may never be the same again – Here’s why!

Black Friday, traditionally a ‘door-busting’ event remembered for its midnight rush, crowded stores, and limited deals will be experienced very differently this year. The majority of shoppers experiencing FOGO (Fear Of Going Out) will avoid stores for their Christmas shopping and take to the online route instead. 

Brands, this year, will be able to expose 100% of their inventory at a lower cost. Reduced CAPEX will give retailers more flexibility to offer discounts and deals that attract value-conscious customers who are not brand loyalists yet, but are waiting for their best fit of quality and price. The early store rush to grab those limited offers, that usually left most shoppers empty-handed and disappointed, will not be there anymore. Last, but not least, what used to be the busiest shopping day will now be at least a week-long event that is expected to be the biggest ever online sale. E-commerce will give more time and space to retailers to clear their piled-up inventory, reach more customers, and recover from year-long losses faced as a consequence of the recent pandemic.

Taking this opportunity of heightened holiday excitement forward, it is time to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. Retailers should check their processes for scalability and stability and ensure the right technology is implemented that can fully equip them to handle a large influx of orders efficiently. It’s time to turn Black Friday bargain hunters into loyal customers who will return for the offseason and beyond.

Going one step further with INCREFF offerings

Retailers want accurate visibility and quick updates on stock availability, so that they can provide alternative options to shoppers and therefore promote cross-selling. ASSURE, our revolutionary web-based fulfillment platform allows 100% inventory exposure simultaneously across multiple sales channels with a sync time of less than 30 seconds. Its most-loved live inventory-order sync feature updates sales & inventory in real-time even during peak hours.

Managing large-scale operations needs high CAPEX investment, however, our cloud warehousing solution gives retailers the flexibility to shift to an OPEX model which is designed to handle large volumes optimally across B2B and B2C channels. Our stringent quality check process instantly removes default or canceled items from circulation and allows quick return processing and making saleable inventory immediately available for resale with no loss in time.

Free shipping and same-day delivery have evolved from something that’s nice to have, to a must-have for E-commerce-first brands. IRIS RU, our advanced cloud-based platform, helps brands fulfill orders from the nearest warehouse location, thus converting 70% of air shipments to surface shipments and reducing logistics costs and delivery time significantly.

No one wants to lose customers, especially during the holiday shopping season. Let’s utilize this great opportunity to get new customers and boost revenue. We can prepare you for your next sales spike in less than 7 days so you can sell more with greater ease this festive season.