Commentary

Time & Location Bump Supply & Demand

Mobile commerce adds some interesting dynamics to time.

A recent report pointing out that many hotel bookings are being made on mobile devices and lots of them at the last minute highlighted this yet again.

There are some rather significant implications to this dynamic, extending well beyond hotel bookings.

For decades, supply and demand could be somewhat identified and tracked. But missing in that equation were time and location, which mobile brings to the table.

The integration of supply, demand, time and location, while not yet totally there, changes everything.

In the case of hotel bookings, the most recent Hotels.com price index noted that half of travelers book same day or next day stays and a quarter of them do it via mobile.

But the back-end implications of these types of transformations are huge.

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Just like booking an airline or Amtrak ticket, the price goes up the closer to the date, often penalizing the business traveler who may have little choice at the time.

Simple supply and demand do play a role by themselves, of course.

For example, the hotel pricing in New York during Internet Week skyrockets. It’s known that the demand is there. The same is true for large-scale events, such as the annual CES International show in Las Vegas.

But the dynamic of supply, demand, price and location can extend to physical goods as well.

In-store shoppers could be provided different pricing per product based on the real-time inventory tracking of that product tied to the location of the consumer.

With customer data and past purchase behaviors, mobile deals are offered to certain consumers and other deals to others, rather than sending the same offer to everyone, which is one of the promises of beaconing.

The days of a merchant pushing an overstock of certain products are past, with too much consumer mobile knowledge available on the spot.

Mobile commerce puts time and location into the driver’s seat, while supply and demand ride in the back.

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