As mentioned in part one of this blog, developing and executing your fuel pricing strategy is increasingly complex. With today’s proliferation of data, the opportunity to base your pricing on deeper insights on customers and competitors is more important than ever.
Without data-driven insights, making truly informed, strategic fuel pricing decisions is next to impossible. There’s no doubt your competitors will be using AI and machine learning to optimize their prices to help them reach their goals.
This powerful technology requires a single platform to consolidate your insights and evaluate performance. You may have considered building your own pricing platform, but have you weighed up the benefits of buying an off-the-shelf platform instead?
How important is ‘speed to market’ to your business? In-house software development or outsourced build work is a far bigger time investment than buying a configurable, ready-to-go solution. Not to mention the time needed to go back and forth making adjustments, corrections, snagging, and final improvements before your bespoke pricing platform is launched.
Paying for a platform like Kalibrate Pricing, however, means your fuel retail pricing platform is immediately ready to use, with minimal technical requirements for implementation. An open connection to the internet is all that’s required. What’s more, you can send new pricing decisions to your POS automatically, achieving maximum speed-to-value.
Bear in mind that paying for a cutting-edge, off-the-shelf pricing platform is a clearer line on the balance sheet than a software build project. Internal projects often require more spend than first anticipated, while fixed platform costs help you measure ROI, as well as total cost of ownership.
Unfortunately, the ‘true’ cost of ownership of internal development is often difficult to calculate. It’s not just the initial cost of the build but the ongoing cost to maintain, support, fix, and enhance the platform, not to mention the costs associated with training staff.
Technology is constantly evolving; the problem with a static, in-house platform is that you may find it’s already outdated before you’ve finished building it. A fuel retail tech expert, meanwhile, can predict how both the fuel and tech markets are evolving. You need an agile platform that can respond to changing market conditions and data sources, as well as potential infrastructure requirements.
A powerful, dedicated AI platform, developed and maintained by a team of fuel pricing experts, gives you ongoing flexibility to accommodate these market changes, as well as system upgrades and new information streams.
AI and machine learning are integral to the functionality of both an in-house and off-the-shelf pricing platform. But note that your home-built platform will probably rely on a generic AI function rather than a specialist one. While this can save you up front costs, a generic AI approach can cost far more in support, maintenance, and potential output inaccuracies.
A dedicated platform bought from fuel pricing experts, however, will almost certainly come with a specialist AI engine designed for your unique needs. Since these engines are configured to suit a given environment, agility is inherently built in. There’s no need to be a data scientist or algorithmic wizard to make adjustments.
Of course, ROI is a critical consideration of any IT project; a specialist AI approach may require a higher up-front investment, but the real return will become apparent very quickly. Specialist AI will always beat generic for accuracy, reliability, and robustness. Interpreting outputs and providing explanations on how results are derived is a core part of a specialist deployment. Most importantly, a platform powered by specialist AI will be far more sustainable for fuel retailers operating in such a volatile and dynamic market.
As we outlined in our previous blog, building a platform that delivers dynamic fuel pricing requires in-depth knowledge across geographies, market trends, and your competitors' strategies.
Unlike an outsourced solution, an off-the-shelf platform is normally complemented by its team of experts. With such vast experience of the fuel industry, this team offers deep fuel pricing expertise and valuable market insight that you won’t find elsewhere.
Kalibrate Pricing is the only fuel pricing platform to combine cutting-edge machine learning and AI techniques with a profound understanding of fuel retailing best practices to guarantee consistently optimum pricing. Kalibrate’ client base of 130+ fuel retailers in over 50 countries ensures we have a rich seam of latest practices on which to base continuous updates to the pricing platform. Still not sure? Download our Buy or Build Guide to help you establish which route to optimized pricing is best for your fuel retail business.