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Richard, the Retail Pricing Analyst: Swimming in data

retailer1At Indix, we believe anyone influencing the product, including its attributes, price, promotion or distribution, is a Product Manager (PM).

Today, we are introducing Richard Price, a Pricing Analyst for a major online retailer for baby products. Richard, 30, is the third in a series of fictional profiles based on our interviews — along with Brand Category Manager Rachel and Retail Category Manager Amy — created to illustrate the variety of personas filling the role of a PM.

Richard is highly analytical and technical though he does work with buyers and planners to implement pricing strategies. Richard’s work life revolves around data. He loves reading and talking about database technology and data mining. He teaches himself new computer languages just for the challenge.

One of his responsibilities is to optimize — among his favorite words — his company’s pricing to maximize both profit and sales. If prices are too high, sales are sacrificed to competitors. If too low, profits suffer.

Here Richard describes his responsibilities in his own words.

“We procure thousands of different baby products from different manufacturers and compete with several other online retailers for baby products,” he told us. “In pursuit of optimization, I have to analyze data for each product category to see which items need prices adjusted up or down. To do that, I have to obtain and analyze pricing data from every other major retailer selling either same or similar kind of products. But that data takes at-least a week to compile and it’s out of date before I can analyze it.”

Richard must also avoid overstocking, a major expense. That is proving an elusive goal.

“What I need is a listing of all the baby products and their selling prices over the past quarter — in real time — so I can see whether those prices are trending up or down. Declining prices can be an indicator that other retailers are having trouble selling those items. Re-ordering those items shoes could be a costly mistake if consumer demand for them is waning — and it’s entirely my responsibility.”

Out-of-stock duration is another key metric Richard must monitor. Long periods between re-orders indicate other retailers are experiencing declining sales, while shorter periods indicate more robust sales. “Right now, there is no easy way to monitor out-of-stock duration. If there were a tool to track such information, my life would be a lot easier,” Richard told us.

Through focus groups and in-depth interviews, indix is working hard to understand and address the pain points encountered by Richard and other Pricing Analysts. These requirements are at the forefront of our minds as we continue to build indix. If you are a Retail Pricing Analyst, we would love to hear your pain points. Please provide us your feedback via comments.

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