BESSEMER, Ala. -- Beginning this week, retail members of Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing here will have the opportunity to trade in cumbersome price books for a software application that will provide pricing information via a secured Internet network.
The wholesaler expects to have at least 150 of its 215 retail stores using the on-line retail pricing management system by the end of this month, said Edward Lawrence, retail systems specialist for Piggly Wiggly.
"This system gives our stores the flexibility to manipulate pricing information in an easy manner, in-house, rather than relying on immense paper price lists and excessive phone calls to headquarters," said Lawrence. "By eliminating paper price books, retailers are gaining real-time pricing data, as well as access to available inventory on hand in our distribution facility.
"This data will help retailers estimate what their gross profit on promotional items will be, then submit the pricing information to us on-line," he added. "There is no longer the need to call for inventory levels or price adjustments, as the data is always right in front of them, in a live environment."
Participating retailers are able to access the application via Piggly Wiggly's secured network, available through its Internet home page at www.pwadc.com.
"Once retailers sign on with their password, they can access a variety of price files, as well as pricing updates, item promotions and portions of the price books themselves," said Jerry McCann, vice president and director of retail operations for Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing.
"Downloading these files eliminates the use of paper. It also eliminates up to two weeks' lag time for the retailers to receive the data from headquarters," he added.
The pricing data, which is based on item sales history and competitive data, is stored at Piggly Wiggly's headquarters on its mainframe computer. "Retailers can examine the pricing based on selling history, to see how low they can reduce the price but still remain competitive," he explained. "The key is for the retailer to remain price competitive and still make a profit."
Retailers can look at a specific brand of mayonnaise, for example, as well as a specific size, and determine which is the best seller and is most competitively priced. Piggly Wiggly also expects time savings with the on-line system, which allows retailers to view only the files relevant to their needs.
"Headquarters generates many paper reports. While a third of the stores say they use them, the remaining retailers do not want to see the same information," Lawrence said. "This system allows the retailers to pull up the reports, or sections, that suit them."
Piggly Wiggly expects to see the system installed at all 215 stores within six months, according to McCann. In addition, it hopes to eventually use the secured Internet network for a space management application.