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1. WO2017139150 - DYNAMIC PRICING SYSTEM

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

DYNAMIC PRICING SYSTEM

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

[0001] The subject matter disclosed herein relates to providing a price value to a user, and to a system and a method for providing a price value with information from multiple sources to a user.

[0002] Typically, cold chain distribution systems are used to transport and distribute temperature sensitive and perishable goods. For example, products such as food and pharmaceuticals may be susceptible to temperature, humidity, contaminants, and other environmental factors. Advantageously, cold chain systems allow perishable and environmentally sensitive goods to be effectively transported and distributed without damage or other undesirable effects.

[0003] Various product factors, including cold chain conditions, can affect the condition of a product and therefore may affect the price of the product. Often vendors desire to price a product to maximize profits while minimizing spoilage of perishable products. A system and method that can provide a suggested price value with information from multiple sources to a user is desired.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0004] According to an embodiment, a system to provide a price value for a product to a user, includes at least one cold chain information source to provide at least one product information entry for the product, a pricing system, includes a processor to receive and analyze the at least one product information entry from the at least one cold chain information source, and to provide the price value to the user.

[0005] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one cold chain information source includes at least one of a shelf life estimation system, a demand estimation system, an inventory system, and a price database.

[0006] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include at least one pricing display to display the price value.

[0007] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one pricing display is controlled by a centralized display controller.

[0008] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one pricing display is a segmented display.

[0009] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include a pricing interface to receive a price adjustment value from the user.

[0010] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the price adjustment value is provided to the processor.

[0011] According to an embodiment, a method to provide a price value for a product to a user includes providing at least one product information entry for the product via at least one cold chain information source, receiving the at least one product information entry for the product from the at least one cold chain information source via a processor, analyzing the at least one product information entry for the product from the at least one cold chain information source via the processor, and providing the price value to the user via the processor.

[0012] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one cold chain information source includes at least one of a shelf life estimation system, a demand estimation system, an inventory system, and a price database.

[0013] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include displaying the price value via at least one pricing display.

[0014] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one pricing display is controlled by a centralized display controller.

[0015] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the at least one pricing display is a segmented display.

[0016] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include receiving a price adjustment value from the user via a pricing interface.

[0017] In addition to one or more of the features described above, or as an alternative, further embodiments could include that the price adjustment value is provided to the processor.

[0018] Technical function of the embodiments described above includes a processor to receive and analyze the at least one product information entry from the at least one cold chain information source, and to provide the price value to the user.

[0019] Other aspects, features, and techniques of the embodiments will become more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] The subject matter is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features, and advantages of the embodiments are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like elements are numbered alike in the several FIGURES:

[0021] FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic view of a product information system; and

[0022] FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of a method of providing at least price value for a product to a user.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic view of the product information system 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 includes at least one cold chain information source 102a-120d and a pricing system 120. In certain embodiments, the product information system 100 can further include a pricing interface 140 and at least one display 132. In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 can be used to provide product information such as current prices to a user. Advantageously, the product information system 100 can provide comprehensive and dynamic pricing information regarding the products by analyzing various pricing factors such as expected shelf life, current demand, current pricing, and inventory. Advantageously, the product information system 100 can dynamically optimize prices to minimize the risk of unsold perishable products near the end of their estimated shelf life while maximizing sales prices. In certain embodiments, the user can modify suggested pricing, which may be considered in future pricing optimizations. Further, in certain embodiments, the pricing system can dynamically update and display prices.

[0024] In the illustrated embodiment, the cold chain information sources 102a- 102d can include, but are not limited to, a shelf life estimation system 102a, a demand estimation system 102b, an inventory system 102c, and a pricing database 102d. In the illustrated

embodiment, the product information system 100 can include any suitable type and number of cold chain information sources not limited to those described herein. In the illustrated embodiment, the cold chain information sources 102a- 102d can be isolated cold chain information sources, while in other embodiments, the cold chain information sources 102a-102d may be interconnected. In the illustrated embodiment, the product information entries can include, but are not limited to, temperatures, humidity levels, ethylene levels, shock values, excursions beyond prescribed parameters, excursion duration, shelf life estimates, demand estimates and forecasts, inventory information, pricing information, etc.

[0025] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 includes a shelf life estimation system 102a. The shelf life estimation system 102a can receive product information entries from various cold chain information sources, analyze the product information entries and utilize predictive models to determine an estimated shelf life of a product. Advantageously, the shelf life estimation system can utilize information from multiple sources using parameters to provide a simplified and more accurate estimated shelf life.

[0026] The processor of the shelf life estimation system 102a can utilize product information entries such as temperatures, environmental conditions, trailer conditions, etc., to determine estimated shelf life. Accordingly, the shelf life estimation system 102a can analyze information received from various cold chain information sources such as sensors located at various portions of the cold chain system.

[0027] In the illustrated embodiment, the shelf life estimation system 102a can utilize algorithms to estimate remaining shelf life. In certain embodiments, the shelf life estimation system 102a can utilize machine learning algorithms to learn predictive data models. In certain embodiments, the shelf life estimation system 102a can utilize laboratory data to obtain models and make adjustments to shelf life estimates. Advantageously, the shelf life estimation system 102a can perform and tailor shelf life estimates for products based on experienced conditions instead of utilizing and adapting previous laboratory results.

[0028] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 includes a demand estimation system 102b. In the illustrated embodiment, the demand estimation system 102b can provide information about forecasted demand, due to time of the year, time of the week, previous demand, weather trends, social media trends, news, analyst reports, etc. The demand estimation system 102b can utilize various sources and analysis tools to provide demand estimates of certain products. Demand estimates can include an estimated value along with a confidence interval.

[0029] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 includes an inventory information system 102c. In the illustrated embodiment, the inventory information system 102c can provide a product location, a product age, a product temperature, a product humidity, etc. In the illustrated embodiment, the inventory information system 102c can provide product aging information to determine the best time to distribute a product to allow the product to arrive at a desired time or a desired condition such as desired ripeness, etc.

[0030] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 includes a pricing database 102d. In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing database 102d can provide historic price information for a product, as well as price information at various locations (different stores, cities, countries, etc.). In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing database 102d can correlate pricing information with geographic location, trends, etc. In certain embodiments, the pricing database 102d can contain prices of comparable or similar products.

[0031] In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing system 120 includes a processor 122. The pricing system 120 can receive product information entries from various cold chain information sources 102a- 102d, analyze the information entries, and provide a dynamically updated price reflecting information received from the cold chain information sources 102a-102d. Advantageously, the pricing system 120 can determine an optimal price value for a product based on various cold chain information sources analyzed in light of selected criteria and strategies. In certain embodiments, the pricing system 120 can optimize prices to maximize total sales. In other embodiments, the pricing system 120 can optimize prices to remove all low shelf life inventories. The pricing system 120 can further consider future demand, current inventory at distributors, future inventory levels, etc. The pricing system 120 can weigh different strategies and business decisions as required by a user and blend strategies as required.

[0032] In the illustrated embodiment, the processor 122 can receive product information entries from the plurality of cold chain information sources 102a- 102d. For example, information entries can include, but are not limited to shelf life estimate values from the shelf life estimation system 102a, a demand estimation value from the demand estimation system 102b, an inventory level form the inventory system 102c, and historical pricing information from the pricing database 102d. In the illustrated embodiments, the processor 122 gather and correlate information entries, such as correlating historical inventory and pricing values.

[0033] In the illustrated embodiment, the processor 122 can apply any suitable strategy, algorithm or solving method to optimize the price for any given criteria using the information received. Therefore, the processor 122 can provide a price value that will consider shelf life, demand estimates, inventory, pricing history, etc. In the illustrated embodiment, the processor 122 can optimize a price value to solve between a maximized total sales amount and a minimized low shelf life inventory as desired by the user. In certain embodiments, the processor 122 can further consider feedback received from the pricing interface 140 to receive additional pricing adjustment information.

[0034] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 can include a pricing interface 140. The pricing interface 140 can send and receive information to and from the pricing system 120. In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing interface 140 can provide pricing adjustments to the pricing system 120.

[0035] In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing interface 140 can communicate current prices suggested by the pricing system 120. The user can review the prices and override prices as desired. In certain embodiments, the user can identify a need or a desire to adjust the prices based on factors that may not currently be considered by the pricing system 120. The price input from the user can be higher or lower than the suggested price from the pricing system 120. In certain embodiments, the pricing interface 140 can show relevant information from cold chain information sources 102a- 102d to assist users to make pricing determinations. In certain embodiments, the user can further provide additional feedback with the adjusted price value to allow the pricing system 120 to learn additional information that may be useful in pricing decisions. In the illustrated embodiment, the resulting input prices can be sent back to the pricing system 120 to adjust pricing estimates in the future.

[0036] In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system 100 can include at least one display 132. In the illustrated embodiment, the pricing system 120 can display suggested prices on displays 132. In certain embodiments, the prices displayed can be adjusted as described in pricing interface 140. A product information system 100 can include multiple displays 132. In the illustrated embodiment, the displays 132 can be segmented displays. In certain embodiments, displays 132 can be multipurpose displays such as liquid crystal displays. In certain embodiments, displays 132 can display multiple price values and additional information, such as a menu, etc. The displays 132 can automatically receive pricing information in response to changes or information sent from the pricing system 120. Advantageously, the displays 132 can display dynamic pricing information.

[0037] In the illustrated embodiment, a pricing display controller 130 can centrally control the displays 132. The pricing display controller 130 can receive information or instructions from the pricing system 120. In certain embodiments, the pricing display controller 130 can receive pricing information from a web interface, phone application, or tablet application to allow users to change price information on displays 132. The information can be directed to a specific or multiple displays 132 to display the pricing information. In certain embodiments, the pricing display controller 130 can communicate with the displays 132 via wired or wireless communication methods.

[0038] Referring to FIG. 2, a method 200 for providing at least one price value for a product for a user is described. In operation 202, at least one product information entry for the product is provided via at least one cold chain information source. In the illustrated embodiment, the cold chain information sources can include, but are not limited to, a shelf life estimation system, a demand estimation system, an inventory system, and a pricing database. In the illustrated embodiment, the product information system can include any suitable type and number of cold chain information sources not limited to those described herein. In the illustrated embodiment, the product information entries can include, but are not limited to, temperatures, humidity levels, ethylene levels, shock values, excursions beyond prescribed parameters, excursion duration, shelf life estimates, demand estimates and forecasts, inventory information, pricing information, etc.

[0039] In operation 204, the at least one product information entry for the product from the at least one cold chain information source is received via a processor. For example, information entries can include, but are not limited to shelf life estimate values from the shelf life estimation system, a demand estimation value from the demand estimation system, an inventory level form the inventory system, and historical pricing information from the pricing database. In the illustrated embodiments, the processor gather and correlate information entries, such as correlating historical inventory and pricing values.

[0040] In operation 206, the at least one product information entry for the product from the at least one cold chain information source is analyzed via the processor. In the illustrated embodiment, the processor can apply any suitable strategy, algorithm or solving method to optimize the price for any given criteria using the information received. Therefore, the processor can provide a price value that will consider shelf life, demand estimates, inventory, pricing history, etc. In operation 208, the price value to the user is provided via the processor.

[0041] In operation 210, a price adjustment value is received from the user via a pricing interface. In certain embodiments, the pricing interface can show relevant information from cold chain information sources to assist users to make pricing determinations. In certain embodiments, the user can further provide additional feedback with the adjusted price value to allow the pricing system to learn additional information that may be useful in pricing decisions.

[0042] In operation 212, the price value is displayed via at least one pricing display. In certain embodiments, the prices displayed can be adjusted as described in pricing interface. A product information system can include multiple displays. In the illustrated embodiment, the displays can be segmented displays.

[0043] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the embodiments. While the description of the present embodiments has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, it is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the embodiments in the form disclosed. Many modifications, variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangement not hereto described will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the embodiments. Additionally, while various embodiments have been described, it is to be understood that aspects may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the embodiments are not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but are only limited by the scope of the appended claims.