Excess price rise(s)?

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Tompsk
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Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Tompsk » 16 Dec 2017, 3:35pm

Been musing about buying the following tyres. I'd swear these were £8 a week or so ago (not on a special offer), now listed at £12 each - I can't think what justifies a +50% price rise...

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/lifeline-essential-road-tyre/

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/lifeline-essent ... -road-tyre


Perhaps these are a suitable alternative (at £10 each for 25mm) in the "budget but not rubbish" class?

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/continental-ult ... -road-tyre

brynpoeth
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby brynpoeth » 16 Dec 2017, 3:55pm

Prices can go down as well as up

Wait a bit if you do not need them immediately
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Samuel D
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Samuel D » 16 Dec 2017, 6:51pm

Tompsk wrote:Perhaps these are a suitable alternative (at £10 each for 25mm) in the "budget but not rubbish" class?

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/continental-ult ... -road-tyre

Indeed. And likely to be a much, much better tyre than the Wiggle own-brand one.

However, tyres are a great place to spend money, in that you tend to get real and noticeable benefits by paying more, unlike many things in bicycle-land.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Cunobelin » 17 Dec 2017, 9:22am

Quite often these on-line companies have pricing algorithms to maximise profit

In the simplest form they compare prices and match their rivals, so if company A rises its price, then others will follow suit

More complex is where they add in availability and demand. If for instance a product is in short supply then the price will increase
Finally there is the trick of placing the company's. preferred option is the one you get on the search, where a cheaper one may be availableThis is the story of a book that was on Amazon for almost $24 million!

Wiggle is I believe one of the companies that uses such algorithms


A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly – a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists – consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).

I sent a screen capture to the author – who was appropriate amused and intrigued. But I doubt even he would argue the book is worth THAT much.

At first I thought it was a joke – a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each be offered for well over a million dollars. And the two sellers seemed not only legit, but fairly big time (over 8,000 and 125,000 ratings in the last year respectively). The prices looked random – suggesting they were set by a computer. But how did they get so out of whack?

Amazingly, when I reloaded the page the next day, both priced had gone UP! Each was now nearly $2.8 million. And whereas previously the prices were $400,000 apart, they were now within $5,000 of each other. Now I was intrigued, and I started to follow the page incessantly. By the end of the day the higher priced copy had gone up again. This time to $3,536,675.57. And now a pattern was emerging.

On the day we discovered the million dollar prices, the copy offered by bordeebook was1.270589 times the price of the copy offered by profnath. And now the bordeebook copy was 1.270589 times profnath again. So clearly at least one of the sellers was setting their price algorithmically in response to changes in the other’s price. I continued to watch carefully and the full pattern emerged.

Once a day profnath set their price to be 0.9983 times bordeebook’s price. The prices would remain close for several hours, until bordeebook “noticed” profnath’s change and elevated their price to 1.270589 times profnath’s higher price. The pattern continued perfectly for the next week.

But two questions remained. Why were they doing this, and how long would it go on before they noticed? As I amusedly watched the price rise every day, I learned that Amazon retailers are increasingly using algorithmic pricing (something Amazon itself does on a large scale), with a number of companies offering pricing algorithms/services to retailers. Both profnath and bordeebook were clearly using automatic pricing – employing algorithms that didn’t have a built-in sanity check on the prices they produced. But the two retailers were clearly employing different strategies.

The behavior of profnath is easy to deconstruct. They presumably have a new copy of the book, and want to make sure theirs is the lowest priced – but only by a tiny bit ($9.98 compared to $10.00). Why though would bordeebook want to make sure theirs is always more expensive? Since the prices of all the sellers are posted, this would seem to guarantee they would get no sales. But maybe this isn’t right – they have a huge volume of positive feedback – far more than most others. And some buyers might choose to pay a few extra dollars for the level of confidence in the transaction this might impart. Nonetheless this seems like a fairly risky thing to rely on – most people probably don’t behave that way – and meanwhile you’ve got a book sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Unless, of course, you don’t actually have the book….

My preferred explanation for bordeebook’s pricing is that they do not actually possess the book. Rather, they noticed that someone else listed a copy for sale, and so they put it up as well – relying on their better feedback record to attract buyers. But, of course, if someone actually orders the book, they have to get it – so they have to set their price significantly higher – say 1.27059 times higher – than the price they’d have to pay to get the book elsewhere.

What’s fascinating about all this is both the seemingly endless possibilities for both chaos and mischief. It seems impossible that we stumbled onto the only example of this kind of upward pricing spiral – all it took were two sellers adjusting their prices in response to each other by factors whose products were greater than 1. And while it might have been more difficult to deconstruct, one can easily see how even more bizarre things could happen when more than two sellers are in the game. And as soon as it was clear what was going on here, I and the people I talked to about this couldn’t help but start thinking about ways to exploit our ability to predict how others would price their books down to the 5th significant digit – especially when they were clearly not paying careful attention to what their algorithms were doing.

But, alas, somebody ultimately noticed. The price peaked on April 18th, but on April 19th profnath’s price dropped to $106.23, and bordeebook soon followed suit to the predictable $106.23 * 1.27059 = $134.97. But Peter Lawrence can now comfortably boast that one of the biggest and most respected companies on Earth valued his great book at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).

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SmilerGB
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby SmilerGB » 17 Dec 2017, 9:55am

Continental make a great tyre, personally I swear by their gatorskins.
Samuel D wrote:However, tyres are a great place to spend money, in that you tend to get real and noticeable benefits by paying more, unlike many things in bicycle-land.

I have to agree, it very surprising how much difference I good tyre can make.
The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the world's most complicated problems.

brynpoeth
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby brynpoeth » 17 Dec 2017, 10:47am

Samuel D wrote:
Tompsk wrote:Perhaps these are a suitable alternative (at £10 each for 25mm) in the "budget but not rubbish" class?

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/continental-ult ... -road-tyre

Indeed. And likely to be a much, much better tyre than the Wiggle own-brand one.

However, tyres are a great place to spend money, in that you tend to get real and noticeable benefits by paying more, unlike many things in bicycle-land.


Any examples of things worth paying more for, or not? Merci

The book story by cunobelin is v good, +1.27...
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Annoying Twit
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Annoying Twit » 17 Dec 2017, 12:28pm

I've seen Wiggle bikes go up and down in price.

A lot of large online companies will use quite complicated software to adjust prices. As with airline pricing, the aim is to get the maximum amount of money out of the paying public. The best way to do this is to get people to pay different amounts. E.g. some people may only buy at rock bottom prices, while others may pay more. The trick is to catch the rock bottom people while not offering the same price to others.

Note that prices may depend on how many times you've visited the site, etc. If you clear all cookies, or use a new computer, you may find that you get offers not available to others.

Samuel D
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Samuel D » 17 Dec 2017, 12:55pm

brynpoeth wrote:Any examples of things worth paying more for, or not?


Well, people have all kinds of reasons for buying expensive things. But a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset won’t make you faster while a pair of suitable tyres might add 1–2 km/h. In fact, low rolling resistance tyres will gain you more speed than three-grand aero wheels.

Tyres can be fast, comfortable, grippy in the wet, and puncture resistant. The more you pay, the better they get at one or more of those things with less compromise on the others.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Cunobelin » 17 Dec 2017, 1:06pm

Annoying Twit wrote:I've seen Wiggle bikes go up and down in price.

A lot of large online companies will use quite complicated software to adjust prices. As with airline pricing, the aim is to get the maximum amount of money out of the paying public. The best way to do this is to get people to pay different amounts. E.g. some people may only buy at rock bottom prices, while others may pay more. The trick is to catch the rock bottom people while not offering the same price to others.

Note that prices may depend on how many times you've visited the site, etc. If you clear all cookies, or use a new computer, you may find that you get offers not available to others.



It does annoy me.

Just changed from a phone provider as I get the same service from another provider at less than half the price.

Then get a telephone call from the original as to why I left....... THEN they say that they would have matched or beaten that price


Too late..... if you could have offered that price and didn't you are dishonest

rjb
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby rjb » 17 Dec 2017, 1:25pm

Ive noticed prices at a well known somerset retailer increase if the same item is selling well. I purchased some tyres at a very attractive offer but when i went back for some more the price had increased by 70% :shock:
Ive noticed this previously, anyone esle noticed :wink:
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Roadster
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby Roadster » 17 Dec 2017, 2:37pm

The prices of whatever you buy are all over the place these days. What's constant is that it pays to shop around.

iandriver
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby iandriver » 17 Dec 2017, 3:04pm

Tompsk wrote:Been musing about buying the following tyres. I'd swear these were £8 a week or so ago (not on a special offer), now listed at £12 each - I can't think what justifies a +50% price rise...

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/lifeline-essential-road-tyre/

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/lifeline-essent ... -road-tyre


Perhaps these are a suitable alternative (at £10 each for 25mm) in the "budget but not rubbish" class?

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/continental-ult ... -road-tyre


Makes me wonder if they will soon be £8 in the Christmas sales, advertised as 40% or whatever off.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

brynpoeth
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby brynpoeth » 17 Dec 2017, 10:48pm

Now I understand a bit, need to check the prices and wait, but will the websites get cleverer?
Who is smarter, people or machines made by people?
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Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
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fastpedaller
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby fastpedaller » 17 Dec 2017, 11:17pm

I wonder what the legalities of some 'deals' are? I don't know if it still applies, but an item had to be offered at a price for a certain number of days (28?) if it was subsequently offered at a 'sale' price. Big chains used to get around this rule by just offering the item at an inflated price in just one of their many stores, before the 'attractive' sale price was then advertised.
The story of the books pricing rings a bell....... I saw a book I wanted was at £69 online (famous river), and I just googled the publishers and found i could buy it direct at £11.49 incl postage.
As for tyres, I've found continentals to be good, and value for money (subjective I know) if bought at the right time.

rjb
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Re: Excess price rise(s)?

Postby rjb » 18 Dec 2017, 10:59am

This thread reminded me of a quote which my long departed grandad was fond of. "They've been up and down more times than a haws drawers".

Merry Xmas and take care everyone. :lol:
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D