John Wanamaker, a Quaker shopkeeper in Philadelphia, revolutionized the retail industry in 1861 by introducing fixed price tags for his goods. "Dynamic pricing" is now making it's way back into brick and mortar retail. This great Guardian article highlights how French retailers have systems that can now change prices dynamically 90,000 times a day!
The obstacle to creating such “smart” pricing strategies in store has been the stubbornness of the paper price tag. A price change in most British retailers still involves a laconic employee manually updating them. In that, the UK currently lags quite far behind its neighbours in Europe (a fact noted last year by Nick Boles, then minister for skills, who praised French retailers for having systems that could change prices “90,000 times a day” while we still had minimum-wage employees traipsing along the aisles). Electronic price tags, which allow those 90,000 dynamic price changes, are a fact of life in most larger stores not only in France, but also in Germany and Scandinavia.