Supermarket giant Carrefour is to begin testing dynamic pricing systems next year, thanks to a leading-edge supply chain development from computer giant Unisys.
The company has implemented a sophisticated loyalty and supply chain system based on a Unisys data model that enables supply chain event management development with the use of the latest intelligent middleware.
The Carrefour scheme links customer activity with personalised promotional offers.
However, the fluid structure of the data warehouse driving the programme is enabling further projects, with local event triggers identified and used to predict customer behaviour.
The second and third phase of the programme will be implemented next year.
After years of showing scant interest in the UK retail market, Unisys is targeting the sector with a product offer largely based on its work with Carrefour.
The group's commercial industries division has consolidated its pan-European retail offering and recruited a number of middleware specialists.
Unisys believes that the data warehouse structure will enable the sort of 'open book' supply sourcing already adopted by Wal-Mart.
In this model, consumer demand and stock availability are closely monitored, with suppliers able to pick up information about any developing local shortages in order to change product sourcing to keep the shelves stocked.
Equally, competing suppliers can monitor their rivals' promotional events to introduce new offers in a highly aggressive competitive model.
Vice-president Peter Armstrong said: 'Major retailers have the clout to force their suppliers to adopt the 'open book' approach.
'If suppliers can cut their delivery cycle times with earlier supply chain alerts, then they have a clear advantage. Add in-transit visibility of inventory and you can have rapid response to high demand that will leverage resources.'