Handbook of Research on Retailing
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Handbook of Research on Retailing

Edited by Katrijn Gielens and Els Gijsbrechts

The advent of e-commerce and the rise of hard discounters have put severe pressure on traditional retail chains. Boundaries are blurring: traditional brick & mortar players are expanding their online operations and/or setting up their own discount banners, while the power houses of online retail are going physical, and hard discounters get caught up in the Wheel of Retailing. Even successful companies cannot sit back and rest, but need to prepare for the next wave of change. In the face of this complexity, it is all the more important to take stock of current knowledge, based on insights and experience from leading scholars in the field. What do we know from extant studies, and what are the ensuing best practices? What evolutions are ahead, and will current recipes still work in the future? This Handbook sheds light on these issues.
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Chapter 5: Emerging retailer pricing trends and practices

Ruth N. Bolton and Venkatesh Shankar


Retailer pricing is a key element of retailer strategy that critically shapes retailers’ fortunes. Many retailers live and die by their pricing strategy. This chapter reviews emerging retailer pricing trends and offers guidelines for profitable pricing strategies. It begins by describing the current retailer environment, focusing on how changes in consumer demand, competition and cost over the past decade have created pricing opportunities and challenges. It then discusses how new forms of competition (from adjacent markets, discount outlets, resale stores and the sharing economy); changes in consumers’ shopping habits across different channels and touchpoints (including shopper response to increased direct-to-consumer activities by manufacturers, growth in online intermediaries and multi-channel or omnichannel retailing); and technological changes (including the pervasiveness of mobile services) affect retailer pricing. After reviewing current pricing practices, the chapter closes by offering a framework to guide retailers in developing a coherent pricing strategy.

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