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Frequently discounting maximizes retailer revenues | Phys.org


JC Penney implemented a “best price” strategy in 2012, assuming consumers prefer fair, everyday prices as opposed to sale prices that are discounted from original, inflated prices. It was wrong. Longtime customers—loyal fans of sales and coupons—rejected the new pricing policy, and JC Penney reinstated its old pricing model that included frequent discounts.

In contrast, retailers like Zara, which sells women’s and men’s clothing, relies on a low rate of discounting and low stock replenishment or high product turnover. If customers don’t buy a new product right away, it may disappear before they commit to buy.

But there is a third pricing strategy that incorporates the benefits of both approaches and allows the retailer to better match supply with demand. The “discount-frequently” pricing strategy allows retailers to charge high prices when demand is high and is flexible unlike an “every day low price” strategy or “static pricing.”

“A firm that cares about attracting customers to the store as well as maintaining the flexibility to match supply with demand would benefit from the discounting frequently policy,” says Pnina Feldman, assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Haas Operations and Technology Management Group.

“The discount-frequently strategy is about making commitments without sacrificing flexibility. Retailers think of dynamic pricing as charging the best prices to match supply and demand, ” says Feldman. “But by implementing a dynamic pricing strategy that makes no price commitments, retailers do not take into account today’s smart and savvy customers who will visit the store less frequently if they can’t depend on good prices and product availability.”

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Frequently discounting maximizes retailer revenues.

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