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Boosting sales with pricing software

A CD seller and software developer spins a pricing strategy that gets results.

By Justin Martin, FSB Contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- What's it worth to you? A CD seller and software developer spins a pricing strategy that gets results. Brett Wickard's homemade pricing software is playing well for him and fellow indie CD retailers, struggling to survive as more music sales move online. Wickard, 38, is CEO of Bull Moose (bullmoose.com), based in Portland, Maine, with ten stores and about $15 million in annual revenue.

Eager to price more efficiently, Wickard, a techie, devised a digital pricing program, at first just for his own stores. The program, sold through Wickard's software firm (crickerywood.com), surfs e-commerce sites seeking CDs that are in a record store's inventory and are offered online at higher prices. When the software finds its target, it creates a comparably priced listing for the title on Amazon or eBay. It discovered, for example, that a Britney Spears CD, reduced to $6 at Bull Moose, was going for more on Amazon. Bull Moose then sold 25 copies for an average of $12 each. Says Wickard: "Now we can reach rabid fans who want certain titles but who will never visit our stores."


From 2001 to 2005, Wickard says, Bull Moose saw 10% annual jumps in sales and net profits. While 2006 revenue and profit growth slowed to low single digits, given an industrywide slump, Wickard is just glad to be profitable. He expects to collect about $1 million this year for licensing his software to other indie CD sellers, includ-ing Kyle Newton, operations manager for Sacramento's Dimple Records (dimple.com). Newton says Wickard's program "has especially helped with used CDs, where we've seen double-digit growth some years."  Top of page

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