Sixteen painful minutes standing there while those behind us whispered obscenities under their breath. It wasn’t our fault. Standing on line waiting to complete a simple transaction should never be so painful.

Let me tell you a story about how dynamic pricing issues and lack of cross-channel awareness created a negative message for a leading retail brand.

My daughter was desperate, in the way only a fourteen year old can be, to purchase the Logo board game for her best friend’s birthday. She searched everywhere for it on her phone. She finally discovered that a major retailer nearby had it, and she could pick it up before she left on a trip.

We headed over to the store. We scanned the shelves but could not find it. We found a helpful associate. He found the last one. It was hiding behind other merchandise on the bottom shelf. My daughter thanked him with enthusiasm. More good news! The price on the shelf tag, was significantly lower than the price listed on the same retailer’s website.

We proceeded to the checkout counter. We were delighted that no one was in line ahead of us. The cashier scanned the item and the price shown was twice as high as the one listed on the website. We told the cashier that the price on the shelf was much lower. In fact, my daughter took a photo of the shelf tag and showed her. We showed her that the price on the website was also much lower than the price that was just scanned. She said, no problem…

Yet, problems there were. She signaled for the manager so she could adjust the price. The manager called over to someone in the department to check on the price on the shelf. As we waited, the line to checkout behind us was getting long and angry. It took sixteen minutes, but they finally adjusted the price to the one on the shelf tag and we completed our purchase.

There are customers who are price sensitive and those that are not. However, no one wants to feel ripped off. It is simple to check the price on Amazon and on the retailer’s website. The scanner at the checkout counter had the wrong price. The poor cashier didn’t have the authority, nor the know how to make the appropriate adjustment.

This retailer failed to create a seamless and pleasant customer experience. Instead, they reinforced my daughter’s feelings that it is so much easier to buy online.

These dynamic pricing issues can be resolved with the appropriate technology and processes. Just this past week IBM announced their dynamic pricing technology for retailers. Check out this demo below. What policies do you have in place to prevent this from happening in your stores?


Full disclosure: I recorded this demo at the IBM booth at NRF 2016 in NYC as part of the IBM Retail Futurist program.

Please share if you think others would benefit.