Markdown Optimization and AI in Grocery Retail: Redefining Discounts

Markdown Optimization, and AI in Grocery Retail: Redefining Discounts

Retail pricing strategies have come a long way since the early days when prices fluctuated based on supply and demand. In recent decades, the retail industry has seen significant innovations in pricing, driven by advancements in technology and the emergence of artificial intelligence. This blog explores the concept of “Smart Markdowns,” markdown optimization, and the role of AI in transforming the grocery retail sector.

The Evolution of Pricing Strategies 

Not too long ago, the retail world operated on a simple principle: when supplies were low, prices went up, and when there was an abundance of a product, prices dropped. However, as stores grew and product variety, this pricing strategy became cumbersome and inefficient. The industry eventually shifted to static discounts, offering standardized price reductions that saved time and effort for both retailers and consumers.

The Rise of Automated Optimized Markdowns 

The rise of the internet and e-commerce further revolutionized pricing strategies, making optimized pricing a common practice in online retail. However, this innovative approach is still not widely adopted in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Here are five compelling reasons why automated dynamic discounts should become best practice in food retail: 

  • AI-Driven Discount Calculation:

Artificial intelligence algorithms calculate the optimal discount for each specific product, ensuring precise pricing strategies that adapt to real-time market conditions. 

  • Maximizing Customer Value:

Optimized discounts are designed to provide customers with the best possible value, aligning pricing with customer preferences and market dynamics. 

  • Real-Time Updates with ESLs:

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) enable prices to be updated several times a day, allowing retailers to respond quickly to market changes and customer demand. 

  • Reducing Food Waste:

Optimized markdown strategies reduce food waste by increasing the chances of selling products before they expire. This not only benefits the environment but also boosts profitability. 

  • Average Savings of 15%:

Implementing optimized markdowns typically results in a 15% reduction in markdown costs for retailers, making it a financially attractive strategy. 

The Crucial Role in Reducing Food Waste

The Crucial Role in Reducing Food Waste

Perhaps the most critical benefit of markdown strategies is their potential to reduce food waste. Enormous amounts of perfectly good food end up in the bin, often without any discount or at the wrong time and in the wrong amount. By setting prices dynamically, retailers have a higher likelihood of selling products before they expire, contributing to the global effort to minimize food waste.

Overcoming Concerns and Challenges 

As promising as automated optimized markdowns may be, several concerns and challenges must be addressed. Here are some of the key areas of concern: 

  • Ambition:

Some retailers aim for fully automated solutions and may find it challenging to adopt new pricing strategies all at once, particularly when benchmarking against e-commerce giants.

  • Infrastructure:

Traditional retailers may perceive limitations in their existing infrastructure when transitioning to dynamic pricing strategies. These concerns need to be addressed to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Risks:

As optimized pricing is still relatively new in physical stores, there are associated risks. Retailers may wonder how consumers will react and what lessons can be learned from past failures in the implementation of their markdown stategies.

Discounting Profitably 

While the concerns about implementing dynamic pricing and markdown strategies are valid, the potential benefits far outweigh the risks. Automated priced optimization, driven by AI, has the power to create significant value for grocery retailers and consumers alike. 

Properly executed markdown strategies have the potential to increase profitability in several ways: 

  • Inventory Optimization:

By efficiently discounting products nearing their expiration date, retailers can clear their shelves of items that would otherwise go to waste. This minimizes inventory carrying costs and increases the overall efficiency of their supply chain.

  • Attracting Value-Conscious Shoppers:

Thoughtful markdowns on quality products can attract cost-conscious consumers, expanding the customer base and driving additional sales. When done right, markdowns don’t just reduce prices; they increase foot traffic and overall spending.

  • Competitive Positioning:

Offering well-timed discounts in line with market demand helps retailers maintain a competitive edge. They can draw in shoppers looking for bargains while staying relevant in a dynamic market.

  • Enhanced Profitability:

By combining inventory optimization, customer attraction, and competitive positioning, retailers have the opportunity to enhance their profitability significantly. Markdowns can lead to increased sales, reduced waste, and a stronger market presence. 

Mastering Markdowns for Retail Success 

While the concerns about implementing pricing and markdown strategies are valid, the potential benefits far outweigh the risks. Automated pricing, driven by AI, has the power to create significant value for grocery retailers and consumers alike. By embracing this technology, retailers can not only optimize their pricing strategies but also make a meaningful contribution to reducing food waste, ultimately benefiting both their bottom line and the environment. It’s safe to say that smart markdowns and AI-driven optimization are here to stay and will continue reshaping the grocery retail landscape. 

About Invafresh

With a combined 500+ years of Freshology experience, the heritage of Invafresh has enabled fresh food retailers to create extraordinary store operations performance and differentiated customer experiences. As the leader of Freshology, Invafresh is deployed in over 350 grocery retailers spanning a global reach of 35 countries with more than $100 million of Fresh revenue being transacted daily, to provide AI/ML demand forecasting, merchandising, replenishment, and sustainability and compliance solutions.  

Learn more at About Us | Invafresh.

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