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UK marketers eyeing introduction of ‘Uber-style’ surge pricing

Almost half of UK marketers are considering adopting a ‘Uber-style’ approach by adjusting pricing depending on demand, according to research from customer engagement platform SAP Emarsys.

The survey of over 250 UK marketers found that 47% are considering the introduction of dynamic pricing, with 15% being “very likely” to introduce surge pricing into at least one aspect of their businesses in future.

The biggest impact could be on the retail and leisure sectors, where 54% of marketers are “likely” to adopt some form of surge pricing.  

“Surge pricing has proved a controversial topic recently, but the reality is that online retailers and brands have been using some form of dynamic pricing or another for years. Increasingly, consumers are growing used to this type of dynamic approach, knowing that if they book their flights at the right time of year, or their taxi at the right time of day, they’ll get a much better deal,” said Ross Williams, Global Vice President Solution Management at SAP Emarsys.

“Dynamic and personalised pricing and promotions can be a great tool for retailers to reward their best customers while also dissuading those who regularly return items – either by incorporating higher prices during peak times, on frequently returned or high demand products.”

As you may expect, artificial intelligence (AI) is the driving force behind the consideration. One in five (21%) of marketers are already using the technology to help them set prices, while 41% say they would consider adopting AI to set prices.

“The main thing to take away from this research is the speed at which artificial intelligence is shaking things up and taking personalisation to the next level,” said Williams. “Dynamic pricing used to be a strategy that was only available to the largest retailers with the biggest budgets. Now, AI is making real-time pricing and personalised deals far more accessible for retailers of all sizes.”