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Thread: E-commerce price changes, based on market price input?

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    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    E-commerce price changes, based on market price input?

    Hi,

    I have a question that's programming related and e commerce related.

    I met with a prospect that does jewelry. He was mentioning how it's a common trend for online jewelry stores to make their prices dynamic by using a formula and linking them to the daily rates in the commodities market (gold, silver, diamonds... whatever). I'm guessing there is probably an market price API out there somewhere.

    The idea of going the extra mile to do this is to ensure a fair price, given the volatile nature of certain inputs (gold prices are announced everyday, for example). Also, if you have a huge store, it can save time.

    So, my question is has anyone heard of this? Is there a certain term for it? Because I tried googling and I don't see anything.

    And if this is not a common thing, then would it a doable thing for a PHP novice like myself to custom make? I'm guessing that it would just be calling the API and then creating a formula... maybe something resembling the below:

    PHP Code:
    <?php

    // the following would be anywhere there is a price display

    $base_price $a ;
    // $a is whatever the variable in the template is for showing price

    $gold_rate ;
    // whatever the per ounce rate of gold is for the day, per the market price API ... right now it's > $1300/oz

    $size ;
    // each item would have a size attribute, to help determine proportional amount of gold used for input

    //$market_price would be the selling price of the item and what shows up on the actual site
    if ( isset($gold_rate) ) {
         
    $market_price $base_price +  $gold_rate $size ) ;
         
    //if the api works, calculate it with the additional gold cost 
    } else {
        
    $market_price $base_price;
         
    //if the api is down for whatever reason, don't show an error, but just make the price displayed the base
    }

    echo 
    $market_price
    //display for store visitor to see

    ?>
    Last edited by RDesignista; Oct 01st, 2013 at 03:08 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    I'd say go to the source. Who outputs those prices everyday? Where do the jewelers get them from? I'd think that'd be where you'd find an API.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

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    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    What Ron said. If they're using market rate data from a source, the source is more than likely to give them an API rather than have their pages scraped for no reason. It might be a paid API but it would exist.

    API Directory - ProgrammableWeb <-- there may be something in the Programmable Web API list that'll do the trick for you.
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    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    API Directory - ProgrammableWeb <-- there may be something in the Programmable Web API list that'll do the trick for you.
    Oooh. Bookmarked.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

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    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Yeah, Programmable Web has some awesome API stuff to work with.
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    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Thanks. I thought some of the developers here might've in the past done a setup like the one I described.

    I tried googling the thing he talked about, "2nd London," but did not find anything. I might ask him again

    So I finally changed my search terms and got some better results.

    "Gold price api" is good. Also, a nice term for this type of accurate buying would be "gold spot pricing," as in, the price is "on-the-spot."

    The api service prices really range. There's a even company out there that charges $1- $13k a year for this API feed. Apparently, having spot pricing for your website is a very nice asset that people will pay for. This month alone, the gold price has fluctuated $100/oz.

    Looks to be something that I'd have to custom code and set up. I do see a lot of value in this to clients though. In fact, instead of charging a flat fee, I am thinking it might be smarter to just charge a monthly fee (greater than my api subscription cost) and to shop it around to different online jewelry stores. If I can get enough subscribers, maybe I could just become a full-time online jewelry store website specialist.

    Ok, that last sentence probably isn't going to happen. But just a thought.
    Last edited by RDesignista; Oct 01st, 2013 at 03:13 PM.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    The variance in pricing is typical of APIs, Ron. Most of them are free, but some of them can be really pricey.

    I'm dealing with a loan client right now who uses some sort of a consolidator of several different loan agents. The most basic API for this costs $600, and then they go up to "Enterprise", which is "Call for Custom Pricing​" (translation: you're gonna pay and pay bigtime.)
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    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    The variance in pricing is typical of APIs, Ron. Most of them are free, but some of them can be really pricey.

    I'm dealing with a loan client right now who uses some sort of a consolidator of several different loan agents. The most basic API for this costs $600, and then they go up to "Enterprise", which is "Call for Custom Pricing​" (translation: you're gonna pay and pay bigtime.)
    Yes, I totally understand.

    And I guess from the developer perspective, they should price based on how much value it would give their clients. Whether it's gold input prices or consolidated loan info, it's a real time saver and great tool for companies, esp. if they have multiple agents. Real estate IDX is another great example of how valuable APIs can be.

    I guess I might include that as a separate part of my proposal... cause it seems it would be quite a thing in itself.

    ***

    Also, if anyone cares, I found a discussion on this topic over at a Magento forum (click here). One guy said it took him 2 weeks to develop and fine tune it. They also never found an easy plugin solution. So... in regards to something like this, I guess it's fair to say that anyone who's willing to do this should be charging a pretty penny.


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