E-commerce is a massive industry worldwide, and is growing each year. The convenience of shopping for goods online is forcing traditional brick-and-mortar stores to alter their pricing strategies or get left behind. Before making a purchase at a physical store, consumers can “price compare” on the spot, checking their phones to be sure they can’t get a better deal online, often from unauthorized sellers. ORIS Intelligence in Columbus, Ohio, created a software solution that helps brands monitor and enforce online pricing to protect brands and consumers.
“The problem we address for brands is monitoring and enforcing the MAP, or ‘minimum advertised price.’ In the way that there’s a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, there’s a MAP,” said Pam Springer, President and CEO of ORIS. “This is an established lowest advertised price that retailers can advertise a product for, keeping the retailer in control of its margins and protecting it against being outpriced by unauthorized sellers. Basically, we enable the brand to regain control of their online channels and enforce their prices, putting brands in the driver’s seat of their own products.”
ORIS Intelligence offers a cloud-based application that scans the web and 3rd party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping every three hours, every day, around the clock, to locate clients’ products on the web using keywords, product numbers and descriptions. If a pricing violation is discovered, the brand typically begins its three-strike policy, using ORIS’s software to send violation notices giving the seller 24 hours to fix the pricing. If a second notice goes out, the seller won’t be shipped any additional product for 30 days, and if a third strike is required, they’re taken off the retailer’s list for an entire year.
“Before ORIS, sellers were able to get around companies’ attempts to identify pricing violations by adjusting at odd hours and on weekends, or around big events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Springer. “But not anymore, because our monitoring never stops. And they’ll end up complying because they know if they don’t, they could get shut down.”
ORIS Intelligence is supported by Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Rev1 provides access to mentorship and networking events such as lunch & learns. ORIS was also connected to AOL co-founder Steve Case and New York Times best-selling author JD Vance through Rev1 connections, and Springer received an invite to participate in a panel with the pair during the Rise of the Rest Tour.
As ORIS continues developing the finer points of its young, but powerful, MAP-scanning software Prowl, it’s attracting customers across the map, from Ohio to Florida, California and even Germany. Springer says Ohio is the perfect place to build the company.
“This is a close-knit community with a lot of resources popping up in a lot of places, which is really great for prospective entrepreneurs. I think the support here is great,” said Springer. “There are very talented people you can go to and if you’ve got a question, they’re willing and able to answer. As more startups achieve success, founders and employers are only going to reinforce what we already have here, making the startup community that much stronger.”