Author: Marielle Fong

Head of Marketing at Engage3
21 Mar 2019

Top 5 Things to Look for in a Competitive Pricing Platform

Top 5 Things to Look for in a Competitive Pricing Platform

Managing the pricing data collected during competitive shops is no easy task. With private labels, rapidly changing online prices, and multiple sources of in-store audits, retail data has become increasingly difficult to translate into market visibility. A competitive pricing platform helps to automate the data collection, apply advanced analytics, and garner insights and value.

The right platform can free up time and resources to invest in other areas and substantially improve market visibility. Here are the top 5 features to look for in a pricing solution:

1. Correlating Online and In-store Pricing

Online vs In-store

In today’s world of e-commerce, more and more retailers are taking an omni-channel approach to selling. A technology-enabled competitive pricing platform needs to take advantage of advanced web crawling algorithms to acquire this competitive data and correlate it against the data captured by auditors in physical store checks. This enables a more efficient and cost-effective approach to acquiring competitive pricing data.

These web crawls can gather data from dozens of popular online stores to compile the most accurate pricing data. With the right platform, a retailer’s online and in-store pricing data are easy to access and work together to inform their omni-channel strategy.

2. Customized KVI Lists Based on Statistical Analysis

KVI analytics

Historically, cost and timeliness have made it difficult to acquire quality competitive data. Given the dynamic nature of the retail environment, static KVI lists are not responsive enough to the realities of where to focus competitive pricing efforts across various geographies and store-specific categories. The retailer needs a pricing platform that allows them to shift from static KVI lists to ones that are easily customized by banner or even by specific store. Rather than taking a blanket approach, the critical decisions of where, what and when to comp shop should be based on strategic statistical analysis.

By monitoring how often products change prices at a competitor, a retailer can adjust their price check frequency to areas that require more visibility. For example, if a retailer is doing weekly checks on a KVI and then find that their competitors’ prices only change every few months, they can adapt their competitive shop in response. The resources spent monitoring a slow-moving item like hot sauce at six competitors every week can be allocated to a more price-sensitive area like eggs or dairy products.

3. Product Attributes

Product Attributes

With the rise of private labels, competitive pricing platforms must be able to compare product attributes. In traditional competitive shop programs, as many as 40% of items go unaccounted for because there is no UPC match. To solve this problem, competitive pricing platforms must be able to utilize visual data capture technology and advanced character recognition to compare product attributes. This allows product linking to occur not just by UPC, but also by key attributes and statement of ingredient similarities, for example, gluten-free and organic. This creates a more accurate picture of a competitor’s private label pricing strategy and their total value proposition.

A recent article by Digiday shows that retailers are rapidly expanding their private label selections. Some retailers now offer dozens of different private labels, and manually matching these products takes considerable time and effort. Automation and product attributes allow retailers quickly get relevant pricing data on competing items.

4. Quality Assurance Workflow

Quality Assurance

A competitive pricing platform must also have a strong quality assurance workflow. With today’s mobile app-enabled technology, automated processes can greatly reduce manual errors and ensure that only quality data is being captured at shelf edge. Additionally, such apps can compare shelf data against historical records, flagging any SKU pricing that seems historically unreasonable.

Reducing the time between data collection and pricing decisions is critical to getting the full value of the competitive shop. When QA takes too long, the data that is collected becomes stale and often inaccurate. Reducing errors makes pricing data more useful, especially when a retailer is competing against e-commerce sites that can make price changes instantly.

5. Precise and Accurate Data

A competitive pricing platform must have the ability to collect precise and accurate pricing data. This allows retailers to target competitive shops, optimize frequency, and specify which items to focus on within regions or individual stores.

Rather than casting a wide net to see what useful data gets brought in, retailers must be able to get a global look at the actions of their competitors while also drilling down to store-specific opportunities. When they have both views, they can see clearly where they are winning and losing.


A competitive pricing platform makes it simple to manage data collected through web crawls and in-store audits. By having prices and advanced analytics connected in a central system, retailers have the ability to review their competitors’ strategies and adjust their own. To learn more about the science driving our analytics, you can request our White Paper here.

20 Mar 2019

Engage3 Q4 2018 Pricing Report: Lidl Led in Private Labels, but Aldi Displayed Consistent Strategy in 3 Segments

Engage3 publishes regular market pricing reports to help retailers and brands enhance their pricing performance through data science and analytics. Register to get more detailed information about this report, or to automatically receive updates on pricing reports in the future here.

Engage3 collected pricing data during the last quarter of 2018 (October 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018) from 46 grocers at 198 store locations. This report shows how a select group of 11 grocers fared in their private label, national brands, and fresh offerings. 

In this analysis, the lowest price across regular, promotional or loyalty pricing for each price point was used, and outliers were excluded. The grocers’ average pricing in each category were divided over the market average (and subtracted one). Numbers greater than zero indicate a banner with above-average pricing, while negative numbers indicate a grocer with pricing below the market average. Note: Walmart data was not a part of this data sample.

Key Findings

  • Engage3’s analysis showed that Lidl, Aldi and H-E-B led in private label, coming in at -32, -26%, and -13% respectively, below the market average in this category for the last quarter ended in 2018.
  • Kroger led in the national brand category, followed by H-E-B and Target, where the mostly-private-label grocers Lidl, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s were excluded in the analysis.
  • Mostly-private-label grocers Lidl, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s took the top 3 spots in the Fresh category.
  • Aldi and Lidl displayed consistent strategy across their assortment, coming in below the market average and occupying one of the top 3 slots in the private and fresh categories.
  • H-E-B stayed in the top 4 in all 3 lists of private, national, and fresh categories.


Lidl led in lower prices at -32% for its private labels, beating Aldi, H-E-B and Kroger, who came in at -26%, -13% and -8% lower prices, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Vons trailed everyone else with the highest price index of +13% for private labels, followed by Publix at +10%.

Kroger and H-E-B Shine in National Brands

Because Trader Joe’s, Lidl, and Aldi carry a very small number of national brands in their stores, they were excluded from the national brands analysis. Kroger led with national brand pricing of -20%, followed by H-E-B and Target. Sprouts came in at +5% for national brands, followed by The Fresh Market at +2%.

Aldi Led the Way in Fresh Pricing

Aldi took home the top spot in lower pricing for Fresh items at -29% for Q4 2018, followed by Trader Joe’s at -22% and Lidl at -21%. Vons ranked fifth at -14%.  Safeway and Publix charged the most in the last quarter of 2018, on average for the items in this study, with a +11% and +6% price index, respectively.

Register to get more detailed information about this report, or to automatically receive updates on pricing reports in the future here.

19 Mar 2019
Bill Bishop Talks About Price Image, How to Compete with Discounters, and the Challenges of Personalization in Retail

Bill Bishop Talks to Ken Ouimet About Price Image and the Challenges of Personalization in Retail (Part 1)

Ken Ouimet, CEO and Founder of Engage3, sat down with Bill Bishop, Chief Architect at Brick Meets Click, at the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show in San Diego to discuss how retailers can compete with hard discounters like Aldi and Lidl. They exchanged views on the critical role of a store’s price image and offer insights about how personalized offers will replace mass market promotions. From custom e-mails to bots and electronic shelf tags, find out how Ken and Bill are envisioning personalization will look like in retail in the next 5-10 years.

Below is the transcript of their conversation.


Ken: A lot of retailers that I talk to, they’re really struggling with competing with Aldi and other hardline retailers. How can a high-low retailer compete on price image with these aggressive discounters?

Bill: Well, I think the first thing to recognize is that price image occurs in the mind of each individual shopper. So a retailer’s got to start thinking about how to change the impression of their prices a shopper at a time. The one way we’ve seen that work so far, and I’m sure there are others, is to take a look at what items are in the ad, identify the items in the ad that are purchased by a particular household, and to call attention to that. When you do that, you’re likely to have a set of prices that are quite a bit lower than what the discounter’s doing with their everyday low prices.

Ken: That’s smart, that’s a smart approach.

Bill: It’s one that’s proven to work and I know that it depends on having really good quality data to be able to know what prices are moving, which prices are important in a market, and to be able to make the assessment and build up to that kind of household by household change in attitude.

Ken: How do the retailers communicate those kinds of offers to the consumer?

Bill: The way that I’ve seen it work the best right now is knowing very few people get a paper today, and those that do, even fewer read it. So what they’ll do today is to take six to ten to twelve advertised items, put them in an email, and use those as the vehicle to communicate the items the consumer should be looking for when they go to the store and of course those prices are superior. So at the same time that they’re advertising item and price, they ought to be saying, “And check out these prices compared to any other place in town.”

Ken: I’m surprised, I didn’t know that email marketing would become that powerful over the newspaper.

Bill: Email marketing is an opt-in strategy that once a consumer trusts and becomes interested in the email, they’re actually running figuratively to the mailbox to open it and see what’s there this week. A lot of fun to watch.

Ken: Do you see the next step in that kind of strategy is to start moving away from mass-market offers and have personalized offers?

Bill: I think you’re going to see fewer and fewer mass market offers because frankly they’re expensive, they appeal under the best of circumstances to maybe 15% of the population or less–any individual mass market offer. And so there’ll probably be fewer of them and more and more will be done individually and as a consequence under the radar, which has some real advantages too.

Ken: Yeah that’d be huge in terms of managing your competitive position. What percentage of consumers with mass market offers, what percentage of consumers do you think change their behavior from the offer, and what percentage did you just give money away to?

Bill: That’s really the $64 question. When you offer a special price, are you changing people’s behavior or are you rewarding the customers? My own feeling is that both are very worthwhile because when you reward your best customers with a good price it’s a retention strategy that’s worth quite a bit to you as well. So I don’t worry nearly as much about it when we’re making those rewards because I think it brings the customers closer to you.

Ken: But what about when the customer doesn’t even see it, aren’t aware that they got a good price? I think of times when I’m in a hurry and I go to the store and I’m buying stuff, and the cashier tells me I just got 25% off something. I wasn’t even aware unless they told me.

Bill: Well, there’s a good opportunity for when the service side of the business comes in. And so if you’re in a hurry, you just pick up the items, and then when you check out the cashier says, “Thank you very much, sir. You saved $2.25 based on the special prices.” At least she’s reinforced the savings going on right there. You may not care even at that point, but the retailer’s taking a shot using the best resource they have to make the point on price reputation.

Ken: When I think of personalization, my belief is that in five to ten years, everything you buy is going to have a personalized offer. And I was just curious what you thought, where do you think personalization is going?

Bill: Personalization, I think, is going to be the big trend that affects grocery retailing over the next five or ten years. Our stores can’t support the mass market proposition, we’ve got out-of-stocks, and we’ve got not enough variety to satisfy customers. So personalized offers, targeted, but we know what people want to buy and we have that product both available and priced appropriately is the way the world is going to go. Now that’ll change the experience of a store, because you probably don’t have to go to the store to take advantage of that, but you’ll need other reasons to go to the store, and there will be other reasons–experience-based.

Ken: What challenges do you see for retailers over the next five years as they move into personalization? What are their biggest challenges?

Bill: Well, the biggest challenge is being able to find a good vehicle for personalization, for delivering that message. I mentioned e-commerce a little while ago, or email as a way to communicate, but one of the things–and I believe we’ve talked about this in the past–there’s probably some degree of discussion between the seller and the buyer as to what’s important and how important it is. I think bots will eventually be a basis for that kind of discussion leading to personalization, [and] they’re not there yet. So the introduction of bots to facilitate will be one thing. I also see that personalization will potentially be delivered right in the aisle on these new digital shelf strips. I mean, they’re going to be amazing, and if we can figure out who you are standing in front of the aisle, we can deliver a personalized price right to you in front of the cookie section or the soft drink section. So, we’re just on the edge and the nice thing about this show is it’s really exposed us to some incredible technology for delivering personalization.

Ken: Do you envision that different consumers will have different prices or it’ll be different discounts with the same shelf price?

Bill: Well, I think what we’re going to see is, today there’s a need to differentiate between the shelf price and the promoted price. And the reason is, the shelf price is on the shelf and the promoted price is when it’s on sale. When we get into a highly personalized world, the shelf isn’t going to be as relevant. So I think it’s going to be a combination of discounts or lower prices. I mean at the end of the day, the retailer wants to price–[to] change your behavior or hold your behavior without spending any more markdown dollars than they need to. And so whether that’s a discount or whether it’s a lower price, I’m not sure.

==End of Video

Part 2 of this video will be posted in the next issue of the Engage3 newsletter, Pricing Trends. Subscribe here.

22 Feb 2019

Digiday: Retailers Experimenting with Dynamic Pricing Due to Amazon

Digiday: Retailers Experimenting with Dynamic Pricing Due to Amazon

In response to a recent investigative report about Target offering prices on its mobile app that differed depending on whether the customers were inside or outside the retailer’s physical locations, Suman Bhattacharyya of Digiday digs deeper into how the industry’s biggest retailers are experimenting with pricing.

In the article, Ken Ouimet, CEO of Engage3, discussed the evolution of retail pricing and the challenges involved. Everyday Low Price retailers like Walmart and Target are under pressure by Amazon’s pricing algorithms, which can make price changes millions of times per day. As a result, some retailers have resorted to applying similar algorithms to their online and in-app pricing. Although these pricing algorithms work well on an online platform, brick-and-mortar stores are having more trouble implementing it.

“In the 1970s, most retailers had national pricing,“ said Ouimet. “Today, pricing is much more localized; dynamic pricing lets you segment with time, and it’s not only about dynamic pricing but personalized pricing – the price will be different for every buyer, and the discounts will be different.”

Market leaders like Walmart and Target “are competing with Amazon with eyes wide open; they realize it’s a different game – in 15 minutes, a price can be old and it’s usually based on competition,” Ouimet said. “You can’t fight that pricing is becoming more localized, more dynamic, and personalized – in five to 10 years, everything you buy will be based on personalized offers.

Engage3’s mission is to create a retail ecosystem where consumers, retailers and manufacturers all win. They use data science so Consumers are only offered products they want, when they want it, and at a compelling price; Retailers maximize profits by targeting only high-intent consumers; and Manufacturers only invest in discount coupons that have ROI.

Read Digiday’s article here.

15 Feb 2019
Comp Shop Optimization

7 Tips to Optimize Your Competitive Shop Program


Competitive shop programs, also known as competitive price checks, are a retailer’s main method of gaining visibility into their competitors’ pricing. An increase in hard-to-match private labels and the entry of digital e-commerce pricing have introduced higher rates of errors and reduced their effectiveness.

With the right best practices, competitive shop programs can change from being a source of frustration to a source of strategic advantage.

Here are some tips on how to help optimize your competitive shops:


Tip 1: Match your KVI list to your competitors’ products.

More often than not, the data that comes back from a competitive price shop has significant errors. You can’t make good decisions based on bad data, and scenarios like this only puts merchandising and pricing departments at odds with each other. In order to get the right pricing data, you need the right product list.

By matching your KVI list to your competitors’ products first, you save time and effort for both online and in-store data collection. When collection auditors are free to collect prices, they can spend less time looking for products that are unavailable at the competing store. This has two benefits: decreasing the labor costs of the shop and increasing the quality of data.

Tip 2: Do full-books sparingly.

Full books are expensive. The top 10% of products sold typically represent 50% of the total sales dollars. Therefore, full book programs that invest as much in competitive shopping slow-moving items as in fast-moving products are not cost-effective. The problem with full-book shops is that they assign the same value to slow-moving goods and fast-moving goods. As a result, goods that only need to be price-checked yearly are lumped in with goods that change prices weekly–at a premium cost.

Our studies have shown that price change cadence for a lot of items at most retailers are not as frequent as most would think. This knowledge can free up upwards of 50% of budgets to achieve more strategic competitive visibility like assortment changes. You can request a sample price change analysis for a typical retailer here.

Full-book shop costs

On average, we recommend that full-book competitive shops be done between two to four times a year. This can be supplemented by precisely targeted competitive shops.

Tip 3: Match your private labels.

When price-checking a retailer of similar size, it’s advantageous to match your private label products to theirs prior to the competitive shop. By matching private label products and finding equivalents, the collected data becomes much more accurate.

Egg Comparison

For example, if two stores offer private label free-range eggs but one carries a dozen-egg carton and the other an 18-egg carton, it takes more time for an auditor to make this connection and collect the data. By linking the products beforehand, the auditing process is streamlined, and more accurate data comes back to you.

Without product matching, visibility into your competitors is compromised. Private label products offer a greater picture of a retailer’s pricing strategies, and serve as important markers for category trends.


To unlock the last 4 tips, register here.


Combined with other pricing solutions, these tips can stack to make the most out of your competitive shop programs. To learn more about how Engage3 uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for retail solutions, you can register to receive our White Paper here. Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of Earth Fare, also sat down with Engage3 founder Ken Ouimet to discuss the latest industry trends and technology at GroceryShop 2018 — watch the video here.

05 Feb 2019
Wells Fargo

Engage3 Grows Dramatically, Secures New Investment from Wells Fargo

Additional investment from Wells Fargo Strategic Capital fuels product enhancements, company growth

Engage3 today announced that it has secured additional financing to continue its growth from Wells Fargo Strategic Capital (NYSE: WFC), a division of Wells Fargo Commercial Capital. The company anticipates doubling revenues in 2019, and Engage3 plans to use the funding to expand its staff and scale up the company’s go-to-market initiatives. The company helps retailers balance their price image objectives with their profitability goals through data science, artificial intelligence, and accurate competitive data.

Engage3 was named in the top 1,500 firms for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018) in the Inc. “5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies”in the U.S. It raised its Series B financing two years ago from retail technology-focused venture capitalists and is in the middle of raising its Series C financing.

Engage3 focuses on an integrated retail pricing platform that emphasizes data quality and the management of competitive pricing, which are the foundation of successful price optimization implementations. Engage3’s Competitive Intelligence Platform (CIP) is an integrated end-to-end solution that uses data science to ensure data comprehensiveness, freshness, and accuracy. CIP enables retailers to automate the management and optimize the design of their competitive shop program; uses demand-side product attributes to link “like” competitor products; and reverse-engineers and monitors competitors’ pricing strategies. Engage3’s Competitive Price Response(CPR) is a visual price modeling tool that optimizes pricing, using proprietary psychological models that measure consumers’ perception of retailers’ pricing and predicts the impact of price changes on that image. CPR helps define the consequences of strategic pricing alternatives.

“In a world where 71 percent of consumers say that price determines whether they would shop at your store over another, the use of AI and algorithms to deliver the best price image to shoppers while achieving revenue and profitability goals is the clear answer,” says Ken Ouimet, CEO and founder of Engage3. “Price optimization as a category failed to reach its promise in the ‘90s because of the lack of good quality data as input. Every retailer now understands the importance of having clean, accurate and timely competitive data to formulate the best pricing strategy. We have addressed this problem, and our customers are now reaping the rewards of data-driven, scientific pricing.”

“Engage3’s integrated pricing platform presents great value for retailers in today’s highly competitive environment. We are excited to be an equity investor in this rapidly growing business with a strong platform and founder-led leadership team,” says Puon Penn, the Head of Early Stage Investment Division at Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, who is based in Palo Alto, California.

About Engage3

Engage3 was founded by the creators of KhiMetrics (acquired by SAP), who are credited with creating the retail price optimization space. Engage3’s leadership team is composed of former KhiMetrics, SAP, dunnhumby, KSS Retail, and IBM/DemandTec executives.

Engage3’s focus is on data quality and management which are the foundation of successful price optimization implementations. Engage3’s Competitive Intelligence Platform (CIP) is an integrated end-to-end solution that uses data science to ensure data quality.  Engage3’s Competitive Price Response (CPR) optimizes pricing, and manages a consistent price image across different channels, markets, and categories while providing control over your company’s quarterly sales and profits.

For more information, visit www.engage3.com.


30 Jan 2019
Live Longer With Earth Fare

Increasing Profitability While Growing Price Image

Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of health and wellness store, Earth Fare, talks to Ken Ouimet about how they came up with a unique food philosophy of “Live Longer With Earth Fare,” and how they have been able to grow their price image while increasing enterprise profitability using data science.

Below is the transcript of their conversation:

Ken: A couple weeks ago you had me over for your store opening in Fort Mill, South Carolina. A really impressive store, I loved how it was that you just see it right off the road. How are customers perceiving prices in the stores?

Frank: Customers loved it, they love the store experience and we get a lot of feedback about the compelling value that we’re offering the consumer for the cleanest products available. So, they’re pretty impressed with our pricing these days.

Ken: That’s great.

Frank: We have been engaged with Engage3 to help us get better at our pricing for our customers in order to offer them compelling value while at the same time maintaining our margins, and that’s been really important for us, it’s helped advance our business in our customers eyes. In addition to that, we’ve been using artificial intelligence to help us with our weekly promotionals, to bring the best products to our customers at the right time, the right frequency, and the right price.

Ken: You have a marketing campaign, “Live Longer with Earth Fare—Blindfolded.” Very bold statement, can you tell us what that means?

Frank: We were very focused on trying to call out the value proposition of Earth Fare. Why should I shop at a place that has a food philosophy? And early on in the marketing and what we wanted to share our voice with our consumer we were trying to articulate each and every product, why it was beneficial, why it didn’t contain certain items, and that became very noisy. So, after working on it quite a long time, the brand mission of our businesses, it’s really to live a healthier, happier, and longer life. And so “Live Longer with Earth Fare” was born. And we say that you can if you want to be silly and take a risk, you could shop our aisles blindfolded knowing that nothing you ever take home to your family contains artificial chemicals, colors, emulsifiers, any chemical on the boot list. That’s hundreds of chemicals that we don’t allow in our store.

Ken: Do you see any other retailers coming up to those standards?

Frank: Interestingly enough, we are extremely excited because we’re the only ones in North America with this kind of food philosophy. It is very unique and I think it’s what gives us the ability to continue to grow in this voraciously competitive environment. We’re offering the consumer that they’re not able to get anywhere else.

Ken: That’s quite a service to the customer. How do you help them understand what you’re providing them? There’s companies like Kroger, Sprouts, a lot of other stores, Costco, are coming with organic products into this market.

Frank: What’s interesting, a lot of the other grocery retailers do have some of these products that are clean and healthier products, but in those instances you’re having to shop for those products across a minefield of products that are full of chemicals that are bad for you. And so, if the consumer has time to read every label in a store and carefully select without making a mistake.

Ken: And they have a three-year-old in the cart grabbing stuff.

Frank: Right, that’s a lot of time required. And so that’s the benefit is just get in don’t worry about reading labels. Everything in the store is clean and you’re going to find compelling value on every aisle.

Ken: When you think about your price image do you have, sort of, another similar objective with the price image?

Frank: Well, we’re continually trying to maintain and grow our price image to show our consumers compelling value, but some of what’s been exciting here at the show today is it seems that some of the technology now exists to bring together the opportunity, to create one-to-one marketing that is truly customer-centric. In other words, I think our teams could probably work together, Ken, to create offers that are customer-centric where they share into our loyalty database their health and wellness needs and we create unique offers for them. Rather than what oftentimes happens today where four or five or ten different offers are created and then we try to match customers to the offers. You mentioned earlier that 70% of people have some kind of food sensitivity, and probably most of them don’t know that. But the ones that do know what they need to avoid oftentimes know what to avoid but maybe not what to go after to even enhance their health even further. And I think collectively we could probably come to those recommendations and then for that individual give that customer a fantastic one-to-one price offer that we could create.

==end===

Engage3’s Competitive Price Response helps retailers like Earth Fare model and define the impact of strategic pricing alternatives. It is integrated with Engage3’s Competitive Intelligence Platform and could be used with Nielsen market pricing data, if available.

Price Image algorithms are based on Markowitz’s Nobel Prize Winning Efficient Frontier Theory. Watch how this theory is applied to retail pricing in this video.

23 Jan 2019

Engage3 Joins Nielsen’s Connected Partner Program

Engagement Creates the Industry’s Most Comprehensive Pricing Intelligence Platform

Engage3 today announced their inclusion in to Nielsen’s Connected Partner Program. Through this engagement, data assets from both companies will have the opportunity to combine, creating an integrated competitor price monitoring and execution platform. The combination of Engage3’s Competitive Intelligence Platform and Nielsen’s rich retail measurement data gives retailers and brands the ability to identify, quantify, and prioritize specific competitor activity and how to best react.

“Engage3 and Nielsen both bring unique data assets about competitive pricing activity that provide insights into the marketplace landscape for a retailer,” said Ken Ouimet, CEO of Engage3. “By combining these assets, a retailer will better understand not only their competitors’ activities, but also the financial relevance of competitive price investments and differentiated assortments. They can then decide on what their best countermoves should be.”

Engage3 helps companies compete more intelligently in dynamic and hyper localized markets with store-specific competitive pricing and assortment insights. Engage3’s omni-channel Competitive Intelligence Platform (CIP) is an integrated end-to-end solution that uses data science to ensure data quality. CIP 1) enables retailers to automate the management and optimize the design of their competitive shop program, 2) uses demand-side product attributes to link “Like” competitor products, 3) reverse-engineers and monitors competitors’ pricing strategies, and 4) visually displays these insights via web-based reporting that is integrated with Nielsen’s own reporting portal.

The two companies are already serving several joint customers. “We are excited to bring an even deeper understanding of the competitive landscape to retailers and brands,” said Rob Culin, Senior VP of Personalization and Business Development at Engage3. “As a Nielsen Connected Partner, we can provide the most comprehensive level of visibility and understanding of competitor activity within any given market. We look forward to creating new levels of value for mutual customers we serve.”

About Engage3
Engage3 was founded by the creators of KhiMetrics (acquired by SAP), who are credited with creating the retail price optimization space. Engage3’s leadership team is composed of former KhiMetrics, SAP, dunnhumby, KSS Retail, and IBM/DemandTec executives.

Engage3’s focus is on data quality and management which are the foundation of successful price optimization implementations. Engage3’s Competitive Intelligence Platform is an integrated end-to-end solution that uses data science to ensure data quality. Engage3’s Competitive Price Response (CPR) optimizes pricing, and manages a consistent price image across different channels, markets, and categories while providing control over your company’s quarterly sales and profits.

Engage3 was named in the top 1,500 firms for two years in a row (2017 and 2018) in the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the U.S. It also recently raised its Series B financing from retail technology-focused venture capitalists. For more information, visit www.engage3.com.

15 Jan 2019
Price Image

Using Price Image to Formulate Pricing Strategy

Price Image is how shoppers perceive a store’s pricing relative to its competitors. It is not the same as Price Index. Many more things go into establishing price image, including promotion programs, elasticities, seasonality, price ending numbers, and the overall design of a retailer store.

Price Index vs. Price Image

Price optimization solutions that are available today are based on rules and price indices that exclude your desired price image. What is needed are psychological models that measure your consumers’ perception of your pricing AND predict the impact of price changes on that image.

At its core, Price Image takes customer excitement into account. Whereas Price Index relies on historical data and plotting points, Price Image is predictive and non-linear – making it much more useful in making strategic pricing decisions. It incorporates psychological elements, making it a consumer-specific metric.

A Nobel Prize-Winning Approach

The calculation of Price Image was inspired at Engage3 by Markowitz’s Efficient Frontier Theory. It’s a theory  that has been successfully used for decades in managing financial portfolios and is now applied to retail pricing.It enables retailers to strategically manage competitive price adjustments so they can balance their profit goals with a desired price image in the market.

Efficient Frontier

What to Look For in a Strategic Pricing Solution

Price Image takes psychological factors and applies them to pricing data. The resulting models can be used to predict future profitability and are not reliant on historical data. Below is a list of what to look for in a strategic pricing solution:

  • Integration with clean, comprehensive, and accurate competitive intelligence data
  • Statistically-driven performance reporting that separates real pricing impact from market level “noise”
  • Streamlined workflow for competitive price recommendations and approvals
  • Alerts for incomplete or outdated competitive data for review
  • A visual price modeling tool to define the impact of strategic pricing alternatives
  • Competitor activity and movement callouts on highly elastic products
  • Makes price recommendations based on your objectives for:
    • Price image
    • Profitability
  • Allows Merchants and Pricing Teams define their strategy and show the financial tradeoffs for different alternatives

 

The predictive model is especially valuable in forecasting sales, because Price Image allows a retailer to see how its customers are responding to different pricing strategies. Greater visibility translates to higher profit margins and happier customers!

Learn more about how the Efficient Frontier Theory is applied to retail pricing in this video.

 

 

 

 

10 Jan 2019
Earth Fare

CEO of Earth Fare Talks Shop With Ken Ouimet

At the inaugural GroceryShop event in Las Vegas late last year, Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of health and wellness store Earth Fare, sat down with Ken Ouimet, CEO of Engage3.

Frank talked about hiring a Chief Medical Officer for his stores, bringing more value to his health and wellness shoppers, and how he envisions a future of 1:1 customer-centric marketing using loyalty data in the very near future.

Following is their conversation:

Ken: Welcome, Frank, thanks for being here at the show with us today. What’d you think of the show?

Frank: The show’s been well organized, there’s an immense amount of emerging technology that really excites us for the potential to have it help Earth Fare continue to grow.

Ken: Is there any particular technology you’re most impressed with?

Frank: Well I spent some time on the exhibit floor and I was pretty impressed with what seems to be some off-the-shelf technologies to help us eventually create more attribute conversation with our customers, right on the sales shelf. And our customers are really seeking better health and wellness, so in order to tell a product story is something that we’re really looking forward to leveraging.

Ken: How would you communicate that to customers?

Frank: Well I think we have a lot of work to do to figure that out. That’s been a big challenge for us. As the leading grocer in North America with the cleanest product assortments, one of the biggest challenges we have is getting the message across to our customers about how unique our assortment really is, so I don’t have that solved yet.

Ken: One of the technologies that I was really impressed with was seeing the advances in the speech recognition.

Ken: At one end I saw something by Apple recently where it actually had a bot that could schedule a haircut for somebody, and get through all the navigation of a real conversation. I was curious to get your thoughts, as we get these digital assistants starting to have these capabilities that talk to people in real time, you see an opportunity where we could use technology to get back to the old store where the grocer knew the customer, and have a more intimate relationship with each consumer.

Frank: Why, I suppose that’s an opportunity, I think customers have a lot of questions in our stores. We have fantastic team members that, many of whom are lifestylers, they live the health and wellness lifestyle, but some of the questions are becoming more complicated about health, so the potential to have that kind of on-demand understanding and data could potentially create an experience for a customer that’s above what we can achieve today.

Ken: Yeah, I imagine as people become more aware of the foods they eat and the effects it has on their bodies, they’re getting more particular on what they eat.

Frank: Yes, consumers are starting to become very aware of the U.S. food supply and that over the years it’s had many, many more chemicals go into it. Some may say some of these products aren’t foods, maybe they’re stuffs with calories. We think that more Americans are looking for healthy foods to feed their family and feel good about what they’re doing.

Ken: I’ve seen a naturopath the last ten years and they routinely will take blood samples and test food sensitivity.

Frank: Yeah

Ken: And I was blown away when I asked them how many people were affected by food sensitivities, and he said it was roughly 70% is what they’re estimating, but only less than 5% are aware of it. There’s a lot of people out there that are affected but don’t know that they’re affected, and some of the athletes are starting to realize that they need to cut out the foods they’re sensitive to and their performance goes up. My brother has a doctor that, he has his office on top of a grocery store, and walks his customers through the aisles to show them what to eat. I’m just wondering, have you thought about having maybe even naturopaths. I know you have a medical officer, is that any direction you’re going?

Frank: We have a Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Angela Hind, and she keeps us on the cutting edge of making sure that we take out of our stores. We’re trying to keep away from things that make our customers sick, and she can only be in one place at one time. Some of the exciting stuff that I think is in our future, particularly with what you’re working on at Engage3, Ken, is our ability to take our loyalty data, where our customers share with us some of their needs around health, and be able to customer-centrically create one-to-one offers. And maybe that could take the place of the naturopath, probably not all the way to the extent your brother experiences or having a naturopath above a store, but the opportunity to guide a particular person with food sensitivities into things that are safe for them, say through an app that [ Earth Fare ] eventually could offer our customers, that could be an incredible experience that I don’t see happening today.

Ken: Yeah, I think there’s a real need for that, because you start looking at reading the labels for what fits your diet, that’s a lot of work. I would think as a consumer I would want something that navigates me around the store like the GPS navigates me around the city.

Frank: I think that could be just an incredible advancement in retail for [ Earth Fare ], we have a food philosophy that disallows a lot of artificial ingredients, and so we say to our customers, “We read the labels so you don’t have to.” That’s removing a lot of the chemicals, but to take it to the next level that you’re describing, then tailor the shop for each individual consumer, it really could excite our customer base. And they’re already looking for better health so it’s the right audience.

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Engage3 Competitive Intelligence Platform helps retailers like Earth Fare improve their pricing performance and compete more profitably through data science & analytics. To learn more about voice-activated shopping and other innovations discussed at GroceryShop, watch this video of Tim Ouimet discussing the rise of agent-based shopping.