655 Campbell Technology Parkway,
Suite 200
Campbell, CA 95008 USA

Phone: +1 408 574 7802
Fax: 1 408 377 3002

Boardriders Gets Pricing Right with Competitive Market Insights from Centric Pricing

Boardriders, Inc., a leading action sports and lifestyle company uses Centric Pricing, an AI-driven analytics and product matching solution, to make informed decisions via this market intelligence platform.

“We were in a meeting a couple of weeks ago, and wondered, what is Competitor X doing? And within seconds, you had a quick gauge of what they do.” — Hendrik Kriel, Global Director, Data Insights and Reporting at Boardriders


  • Multiple brands
  • Difficult to get real-time competitive information
  • Performing pricing and assortment competitive intelligence manually
  • Decision making on pricing needed to be faster


  • Quicker, and more confident decision-making
  • Able to get a complete picture of the competitive landscape
  • Relevant competitive information is readily available to all Boardriders brands in real-time

“Within each brand, there are people looking after different product areas—someone looking after swimwear, somebody else looking after ski, somebody else looking after footwear—each of those people would go and do their own research. And a lot of times, it’s hiring interns that would just sit there and look up competitor websites and collect, copy and paste data images into a spreadsheet, and then try and build up a picture. But it wouldn’t be a complete picture, it would be a sample set from a brand.”

Peter James, Head of Global Pricing Strategy at Boardriders describes how they would do competitive pricing research and intel gathering prior to Centric Pricing™ (formerly StyleSage). He explains how across the brands, there are about 50 different people all doing their own data gathering. “It’s not then pulled into one common resource; It’s spread across the business in different spreadsheets. So you don’t have that ability to do any central or quantitative analysis on it. It’s not shareable really.”

Today, with Centric Pricing in place, these functions have been automated. Read on for the details of how this essential AI-driven competitive assortment benchmarking and market trend insights platform is delivering information in real-time to aid in accurate decision-making.

All Boards

Boardriders is a leading action sports and lifestyle company that designs, produces and distributes branded apparel, footwear and accessories for board riders around the world. In their own words, “Our apparel and footwear brands represent a casual lifestyle for young-minded people who are inspired by a passion for outdoor action sports.”

The company brings together a collection of legendary brands like Quiksilver, established in 1969, Billabong, founded in 1973 to DC Shoes, Vonzipper, Element, ROXY all hitting the scene in the 1990s, and RVCA founded in 2001. Together these brands are part of a company that is all about board riding whether it is on land, snow or water.

A Focus on Pricing Strategy

Boardriders recognized the importance of pricing strategy by creating James’ position to focus on the area, in 2017. Says James, “I work with the merchandisers across all the brand teams in each of the three core regions and currencies. We really look at our pricing relative to our competitors. We benchmark our key products and make sure that they’re competitive, essentially.”

Assortment Matters Too

James explains how the company tries to get the assortment right at the beginning of each planning phase, focusing on the right areas and the right weighting of products. To do this manually takes much time/person-hours and isn’t as accurate as it could be. Boardriders knew they needed a solution to make the work easier.

Prior to James’ arrival, Boardriders had brought in a consulting firm that developed a scraping tool to collect data but it was fairly rudimentary. However, it did give the company a sense of the opportunity to be gained by shifting among price points.

The Right Tech Solution

Once the strategy was established, James says, “It became a case of trying to get some competitive pricing software in.” The company looked at a few different platforms but ultimately selected Centric Pricing—which was acquired as StyleSage and folded in under the Centric Software umbrella—an AI-powered retail analytics solution that leverages image recognition and keyword matching to enable brands to increase speed to market, with real-time insights across 4 key business areas: pricing, assortment, promotions and trends. Product matching capabilities match exact products, even without a UPC, so that retailers can optimize their pricing for same products sold on competitors’ sites.

Data Insights

Global Director, Data Insights and Reporting Hendrik Kriel says, “We really focus on current performance, what’s happening on site for competitors, what’s online, what pricing changes are happening.” Kriel’s role acts as a bridge between e-comm and the business requirements.

“We look at Google search trends, as well as email—what is being called out? What discounts are applied? What does the site look like? Especially around certain trade periods like Black Friday. How do we trade, how are our competitors trading? We can see what they’re doing from an average discount percentage perspective. What are they doing when it comes to reducing an assortment? It’s a good gauge for us to see what’s happening with our competitors from an assortment perspective as well.”

Laser Focus

James took the initiative to make the platform even more user-friendly by creating reports. He says, “Focusing on the respective brands and showing how they can drill down into products using the key words, I think is one of the most useful things. You can really get specific. For example, if you do, say, ‘crewneck fleece tops’—you can put different fields and keyword filters in to make sure you haven’t got any hoods, anything with zips, you haven’t got a sweater or a sweatshirt, nor any different age ranges slipped in that you don’t want.” Being able to use the reports James created, facilitates the use of the tool for users and makes the reporting dead on for the brands.

Early Wins and Confident Decision-Making

Boardriders is already seeing ROI in both time saved immediately, and in margins as price and assortment adjustments are rolled out. Notes James, “We’re able to look at the assortment overall. The structure of pricing, the weighting, how many products we have at each price point and how that compares to the architecture of our competitors, how many options in total over the category and at each price point as well. It’s all about making sure that when we’re briefing an assortment at the beginning of each planning phase, that we’re focused in the right areas, the right kind of weighting of products.”

James compares what was done prior to having the platform, to today. “Doing the research manually took so much time and an army of interns with less complete results. And because the information wasn’t centralized, you lose the ability to do quantitative analysis on it,” says James.

“With Centric Pricing, having the information at your fingertips ensures that nothing is missed. It gives a view of the opportunities when they’re there. I’ve felt we’ve got the value—especially over the last six months—in some of the decisions on price changes that have been so critical. This tool has definitely helped us make those decisions.” Because the Centric Pricing analytics platform is built on machine learning technology and image recognition, it is able to provide both real-time and historic e-commerce data on retailers’ pricing, discounting and assortment strategies.

Seeing that another brand has just actioned some price changes, suddenly gives you confidence—It's not just us thinking of doing this, other brands are doing it too, and here's the evidence!”

James says, “So yeah, let’s push ahead and do our price changes. And those price increases can be worth an awful lot to a business; if we’re talking about two billion turnover, it’s millions and millions of dollars in extra revenue. Having the confidence to make those decisions is really where you get the value.”

The Centric Pricing Difference

Kriel gives his take on the platform. “What Centric Pricing has been for us is a visual guide to what other retailers are doing. That’s been very helpful, because a lot of my world used to be Excel-based. The [Centric Pricing] dashboards take everything super visual and answer what you can do. We were in a meeting a couple of weeks ago, and wondered, what is Competitor X doing? And within seconds, we had a quick gauge of what they do, versus like Peter said, having to get interns to sit there for days, extracting 10% of what you need.”

James sums up, “I always think of Centric Pricing as a competitive pricing intelligence tool, but it’s more than just that because you’ve got all the assortment and promotional side of it. So it’s a competitive intelligence visualization tool. For me, one of the best things about it—I always say this when I do internal training sessions—is the fact that you have the ability to put everything into one common product hierarchy.”

He continues, “The fact that Centric Pricing does reporting very well is one of its key advantages. You can so quickly do analysis across brands, on particular categories, with filters applied. You really get the benefit of being able to look at something very quickly.” And of making tweaks to the assortment, James notes, “When you add it all up, it’s quite a chunk of money.”

Read more

View all references