Skip navigation
MFG 2.0

Digital Price Tags - The Antidote To Price Transparency?

A couple quick musings inspired by a Google Plus discussion. (If you haven't seen G+ yet, you can look me up and join the discussion here.)

Noted marketing strategist Jeremiah Owyang recently posted a picture of some digital price tags he saw at Kohl's (photo below) with an open-ended question around social referrals onto his Google Plus profile page.

In the ensuing conversation, I tried to make the scenario a little more complete with a my thoughts related to two interesting possibilities I saw in integrating digital price tags with mobile near-field communications (NFC) information transfer system (reference the recently rolled-out Google Wallet):

A NFC link initiates a download of the user's retail purchase history by the price tag system from the user's phone, calculates their price sensitivity, and presto: premium pricing (or discount pricing) for that specific user based on some sort of algorithmic calculation of that specific user's price ceiling for that specific item at that specific time.

Alternately (or additionally), a shopper loyalty program NFC overlay that allows them to tap the price tag and apply a discount that scales based on their own purchase history, purchase history from their social graph via referrals, etc. The more they buy, the cheaper your own items become, and the execution is carried out on an item-by-item basis which (as opposed to gift cards, percent discounts, etc.) allows the retailer to preserve margins more effectively and turn over inventories more quickly (similar to how sales people can and will give larger discounts on certain SKUs than on others).

For those who haven't been following this NFC space, the basic gist is that a properly configured and implemented digital price tag and NFC communications system could make a "personalized price tag" for each consumer. Which is an interesting opportunity for retailers, since they currently have their ability to set their own prices being steadily eroded by the ability of consumers to shop around while in the store via their mobile phones.

Long and short of it is, the times they are changing, and any startup that can create such an integrated, real-time system probably has a ready-made market of retailers hungry to take back the market initiative in product pricing dynamics.

TAGS: Innovation
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.