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Retailers need to take the initiative to be more transparent about their pricing, says KPMG

| International retailers

Following news that consumer group Which? has launched a super-complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) alleging that supermarkets are misleading shoppers with “dodgy multi-buys, shrinking products and baffling sales offers,” KPMG has urged retailers to more transparent about their pricing.

Its Head of Retail, David McCorquodale, said: “In times of price deflation and decreasing customer loyalty, there is no doubt that pricing will come under increasing scrutiny from government, regulators and consumer protection agencies.

“Differential pricing and targeted promotions have been around for years and are becoming more and more pervasive. However, the key to ensuring these strategies are implemented fairly and appropriately is transparency. As retailers deploy ever more sophisticated algorithms to dynamically set prices and promotions the key principle remains that customers need to feel they are being fairly treated.

“Few of us truly realise the information companies have about us through loyalty cards, past purchases, online profile, and search history. There isn’t a problem with companies having this information or using it to drive sales – indeed in today’s world, customers also have price comparison at their fingertips. The real issue is whether predictive analytics are being used to set targeted promotions in a way customers are not aware of and do not understand.

“Retailers need to remember that brands can easily be harmed if customers feel they have been treated unfairly. In essence, retailers both on and offline need to take the initiative to be more transparent about their pricing so that consumer trust is not eroded and to avoid these types of allegations in the future.”

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