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Gordon Grant

Chief Technology Officer, Pierhouse
  • Posted on: 08/01/2019

    Has dynamic pricing hit a rut?

    It would be helpful to clarify exactly what dynamic pricing means. If we're talking about minute by minute changes then I agree that this would be a terrible customer experience. Imagine that you take half an hour to walk around the grocery store loading your basket and by the time you've reached the checkout your bill is 50% higher! On the other hand, less frequent price changes (but still more frequent than today) might be entirely feasible. The technology exists today. So I think that the question isn't "if" but "when" we will see more of this in the bricks and mortar stores. The vendors and retailers just need to work out what is acceptable by shoppers. Maybe only price decreases are applied during store hours and price increases are held over until the store is closed? I'm also seeing more and more AR led solutions where the shopper sees their own special price, regardless of what is printed on the shelf.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    Will personalized pricing end retailers’ use of dynamic pricing?

    I don't believe that one necessarily rules out the other. I think that there are specific use cases that can play to each of the options. Dynamic Pricing: A 24hr pharmacy or convenience store may increase all of their prices by x% between 22:00 and 08:00. Personalised Pricing: A customer in a grocery store may be using something like FutureProofRetail's mobile checkout app. They add Product X to their basket and then Product Y. The app knows enough about them and offers them a discount if they add Product Z too. People seem to be getting excited about personalised pricing, but that's exactly what we've had for years via loyalty coupons. Sure, the technology means that the decision making is more complex nowadays, but multiple people have been standing in the queue at the grocery store for years with the same product and been paying different prices due to coupons. I think that intelligent use of both pricing options can be a win-win for retailers and customers. As with many things, it's poor execution that causes problems not the technology or the logic.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    Does Amazon need bricks to make its online grocery business click?

    In the UK, the majority of our main grocery retailers have cracked the in-store, pickup and delivery models. Initially poor quality on fresh produce was an issue. An additional early issue was staff members making poor "substitute" selections when a product was unavailable. You'd ask for vegetarian sausages and they'd give you pork sausages as a substitute! However, the UK market has evolved now and the process is incredibly smooth for customers, many of whom dip into each of the three purchase models. What are the two trial locations like in Seattle? Do they have ample free parking and do you have to wait long between arriving and leaving with your purchases?
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    As a Brit, I never look forward to my time in US airports but I enjoy my time in Heathrow Terminals 2&5 and some of the other airports that were mentioned in this article. Tomorrow I need to fly from London to Norway and my first choice is now always Heathrow, but the schedules don't suit so I need to fly out of Gatwick. Not as nice as Heathrow, but still much better than JFK earlier this year. I'm relatively happy to be flying out of either Heathrow or Gatwick -- so London is not a bad place to fly out of. I can't say the same for New York. Neither JFK nor Newark are appealing to me or on a similar level as other international airports. So the airport experience is heavily influencing my route preference now. My stop-over airport on my flights between the UK and Australia is almost as important as the flight itself (but not quite!) Given their size, airports aren't like regular retailers as they don't often run the risk of a competitor opening up shop on their doorstep. Travelers often have little choice about where they flight in or out of. Nonetheless, travelers have money, often have time on their hands and there are lots of them. Airports could be generating more revenues in these frugal times by thinking more like retailers and trying to offer great customer experiences. Airport retailers could also use newer retail technologies to show different currencies or languages on digital screens depending upon which flights are departing/arriving.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2017

    Starbucks battles mobile pick-up congestion

    This is an interesting challenge. They may well be able to schedule more baristas to work at peak times, but how many more coffee machines can they install in their small-footprint, high-volume stores? There will be a maximum throughput that can be achieved per square foot -- and square footage isn't unlimited. Maybe they need to ask Amazon if they can borrow some of their drones.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2017

    How soon before digital technologies reinvent food shopping?

    I think that it's great to see innovation in retail stores. There is so much potential. The screens look great in the videos, but I would question how often they would be used during repeat visits -- once the novelty has worn off. Customers need -- and are demanding -- personalised information in a timely manner when they are in store. That can be personalised to me as an individual (i.e. we've identified that you are Gordon Grant and we'll show you info that we know that you want based upon your buying history or information that we already know about you -- maybe warning about products containing nuts) or personalised in the sense that the information being displayed is based upon my circumstances at that moment (i.e. we don't know who you are but we can see that you have all of the ingredients for a roast dinner in your basket, so why not add a bottle of wine for 25% discount if you purchase it at the same time?) I think that this is good progress on this journey, but I can't quite see that it's the right implementation just yet. The days of Amazon Prime X-Ray being available for real-time retail purchases in store are not far away (I hope).
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