Defining Pricing Rules

How you set up your pricing rules is of vital importance to running your site.  You’ll want to make sure to provide a competitive price, but also make sure to not provide too high of a price on unusual books.  Users will find any holes in your pricing strategy and take advantage of it.

The idea of pricing rules is to set a base price (usually some modifier of the lowest amazon price), then based on if/then conditions, modify that price usually a couple times before ending up at a final calculated price.  If you have custom prices set up ahead of time for certain books, you can add a rule to use those custom prices which will then essentially override the rules before it as well.

In KobiBooks, you can have multiple kinds of pricing rules and multiple iterations of each rule kind.  Each rule has a basic structure of “if X is true, then perform Y action.”  KobiBooks is setup with a couple basic rules to get you started and give you an idea of what you can do with the system.

  • Set Base Price
  • Salesrank-based modifier
  • Use Custom Price

The available “if” conditions are:

  • Average 3 Lowest New Prices (listing prices)
  • Lowest Used Price (listing price)
  • Lowest Used Price (landed price)
  • Lowest New Price (listing price)
  • Lowest New Price (landed price)
  • List Price
  • Salesrank
  • Input Text Value
  • Input Numeric Value
  • Calculated Price
  • ISBN is in Custom Price List
  • True
  • False
  • Publication Date
  • Title

Most of these are pretty self-explanitory, but I’ll review a few of them here.

Input Text Value: If you want to omit books that have the word “goat” in their title, you would use this choice.  You’d set up the rule to say, “If: [Title] [contains] [Input Text Value] goat”.

Input Numeric Value: This can be useful if you want to not purchase books that are below a certain value.  For example, if you wanted to omit all books that have an Amazon lowest price below $10, you’d set up the rule to say, “If: [Lowest Used Price] < 1 x [Input Numeric Value] 10”.  Why the “1 x [operator]”?  That’s to allow for some more complicated rules further down the line.  For now, you can generally leave that value as “1” all the time.

True: Choosing this option will set the statement to be true without any further evaluation.  This is helpful setting the base price for your price calculations.

Setting the calculated price: similar to the if statements above, the calculated price can be modified various ways.  Generally you’ll start with setting it to some percentage of the Amazon Lowest Used Price in your base price rule (anywhere from 1% to 100% depending on what you think is right), then you might modify it based on other rules.  If you have a rule where you reduce the price by 10% if the salesrank is above 1,000,000, you can do that.  Or if you want to set the base price to be based on the average of the lowest 3 used, you can do that too.

It’s important to have a custom price rule at the end of your list of rules so that you can essentially bypass all previous rules with this one.  Your rule condition might be something like “If: [ISBN is in Custom Price List] then Then set calculated price to 100% [of] [Custom Price]”.  That would let you use your custom prices as-is.  You may dream up other conditions where you would change your custom prices on the fly, and you can do that here as well.

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