We live in a cutthroat era in retail. A fluctuating economy, rising prices, and AI innovations have made the business landscape more competitive. As a consequence, implementing effective pricing strategies is now crucial to maintaining profitability and market share. 

Balancing customer attraction with healthy profit margins is a simple yet powerful way to gain a competitive advantage. Predictive pricing software, incorporating advanced machine learning and data analytics, presents the best opportunity for developing effective pricing strategies, surpassing traditional dynamic pricing models.

However, retailers often face a significant dilemma: 

  1. Should they build a custom pricing solution tailored to their unique needs? Or, 
  2. Should they purchase an off-the-shelf product that offers ready-to-use features?

It’s a complex decision to make due to the number of variables to consider, such as cost, time, flexibility, and scalability. Below we’re going to remove the fog and add clarity to simplify this decision for you. 

We’ll investigate the pros and cons of building vs buying pricing software to help you make an informed decision that best aligns with your business’ needs, goals, and unique situation.

The value of pricing software

Investing in advanced pricing software is a game-changer for navigating modern market complexities, with just a 1% improvement of pricing tools leading to a 6% increase in profits.

Pricing tool impact

The latest generation is predictive pricing. At its core, predictive pricing allows you to maximize profit through its ability to analyze a whole range of internal and external factors and steer prices towards specific goals.

A variety of pricing data points are integrated, allowing modern pricing software to analyze historical sales, market trends, and competitor prices. It’s a holistic yet robust analysis that allows you to perform demand forecasting, predict future sales patterns, and identify the optimal price for your product.

This sophisticated approach is far superior to traditional, rule-based software, which only adjusts prices based on predefined rules and criteria, offering limited adaptability and insight.

Key functionalities and benefits of predictive pricing software

Data analysis and insights:

  • Comprehensive analytics: Gain insights into sales trends, customer behavior, and market conditions for informed pricing decisions.
  • Predictive analytics: Predict future trends and customer responses, enabling proactive strategy adjustments.

Dynamic pricing adjustments:

  • Ongoing price refinement: Refine pricing continuously based on new data to maintain market relevance.
  • Automatic rule-based pricing: Set rules to automatically adjust prices, maintaining consistency without manual oversight.

Competitive pricing strategies:

  • Market comparison: Continuously monitor competitor pricing and market trends to develop competitive strategies.
  • Price optimization: Analyze cost, demand, and competition to find the best balance between volume and profit.

Adjusting prices manually is an out-of-date approach that will expose you to inefficiencies, errors, and missed opportunities in a highly competitive market. Whereas price optimization with machine learning encompasses a wide spectrum of variables to provide dynamic and competitive pricing solutions.

Building custom pricing software

Building a custom pricing solution offers tailored features but requires careful consideration of several factors. Anything that’s personalized sounds great and there are many benefits to having a custom pricing solution. But at what cost? 

Here are some key pros and cons to consider when evaluating whether to build custom pricing software:


  • Tailored to specific business needs: Custom solutions can be designed to fit unique requirements exactly without the compromises that come with off-the-shelf software.
  • Greater control over features and updates: Prioritize development based on evolving needs and incorporate feedback directly into the software’s evolution.
  • Potential for competitive advantage through unique capabilities: Bespoke systems can offer features and integrations that competitors may not have.


  • High development and maintenance costs: Significant investment in development resources and ongoing maintenance.
  • Longer time to deployment: Developing a custom solution from scratch can take months or even years, delaying the benefits.
  • Requires dedicated IT resources and expertise: A team of skilled developers, project managers, and IT support is needed to create and maintain the software.
  • High risk of failure: The costs involved can be substantial if the custom solution fails to meet expectations.

The pros and cons of creating your own software solution boil down to your unique situation. A more personalized solution is always appealing, but creating one will likely put more bumps in the road since it requires significant investment, time, and specialized expertise to develop and maintain the pricing process. 

Buying off-the-shelf pricing software

In the other corner, we have off-the-shelf pricing software. Just like any option, this approach comes with its own unique range of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s have a look at the most important ones for you to keep on your radar:


  • Faster implementation: Typically ready to use out of the box, allowing for quicker deployment and faster realization of benefits.
  • Lower upfront costs: Lower initial investment compared to building a custom solution.
  • Regular updates and support from the vendor: Regular updates, patches, and support services from vendors ensure the software remains current and functional.
  • Proven functionality and reliability: Commercial software is extensively tested and used by other businesses, providing reliability and effectiveness.


  • May require compromises on specific features: Off-the-shelf solutions may not perfectly fit all business needs, requiring workarounds or adjustments.
  • Less control over customization and updates: Dependence on the vendor for new features and updates, which may not align with your timeline or priorities.
  • Potential for higher long-term costs with subscription models: While initial costs may be lower, ongoing subscription fees can add up over time.

Another compelling advantage is leveraging the expertise of third-party providers. Speed is one of the hallmarks of excellence in today’s fast paced digital arena and their expertise can ensure a seamless integration into your business. 

While not entirely bespoke, third-party software like 7Learnings is regularly updated and refined to adapt to clients’ evolving needs.

Key considerations for making the decision

Still unsure which option is best for you? Here are some crucial factors to take into consideration when making your decision:

Cost analysis

  • Short-term vs. long-term costs: Compare initial development and deployment costs with long-term maintenance, upgrade, and support expenses. Off-the-shelf solutions may have lower upfront costs but higher ongoing fees.

Time to value

  • Development and deployment time: Custom solutions can take months or years to develop, while off-the-shelf products offer quicker implementation and immediate benefits.

Flexibility and control

  • Need for flexibility and control: Custom software offers more control and customization but requires significant resources. Off-the-shelf solutions are less flexible and depend on vendor updates and features.

Scalability and future-proofing

  • Handling business growth: Custom solutions can be tailored for scalability but need foresight. Off-the-shelf products typically offer built-in scalability but may have vendor limitations.
  • Integration with future technologies: Custom software can be designed for future integration but needs ongoing adjustments. Off-the-shelf products provide regular updates, though customization is limited.

Diving deeper, there are many variables that can shape your decision. Whether its cost, scalability, time to value, or need for flexibility, you can filter out the right options to find which pricing software is most optimal for you.

Evaluating your pricing software options

The build vs buy dilemma is a common challenge for every business looking to optimize its pricing strategy. Custom solutions will provide more tailored features and a stronger grip on the specific challenges your business faces. However, this does come with a ripple of drawbacks. 

They’re more expensive, come with longer deployment times, and require more dedicated IT resources. Any production failures will burn through your capital rapidly. In contrast, the off-the-shelf alternative offers a safer option. Faster implementation, lower development costs, and greater reliability are all part of a winning formula in any business situation.

Yes, you may need to compromise on specific features and customization options but you’ll still revel in the riches of an optimized pricing solution. 

Regardless, we recommend carefully considering your business needs, budget, and available resources. Making this strategic decision with caution will help ensure that you choose the best approach for your organization, one that aligns with your long-term goals and operational capabilities.

If you want to discover the key characteristic of a powerful off-the-shelf pricing software, then make sure to visit our platform. Here you will find out 7Learnings’ AI powered predictive pricing can help you maximize your profit margins.