We are proud to announce that Priceforge, our latest app, is immediately available as a public beta. Priceforge supports merchants to gain better insights in their data - sales, inventory, prices, web traffic - and helps them to elaborate better pricing strategies; and more.

Priceforge is first a dashboarding engine to compose power dashboards where numbers that matter - and only numbers that matter - are gathered into a single page. Unlike widespread BI tools, Priceforge is commerce-native, focusing on stuff that trully matters for commerce.

Second, Priceforge is a pricing engine to design of both very simple or very advance pricing strategies. Let’s replace dump prices with smart pricing. Pricing is a message sent to the market, and unlike demand forecasting, it’s not the sort of problem that can be addressed by pure numerical optimization. Priceforge embraces this vision and instead of forcing prices upon merchants, Priceforge empowers them to improve the prices they have.

Commerce insights

For years, Lokad had not been delivering any data visualization capabilities. The thinking went: yes, data visualization is critical but with hundreds of Business Intelligence (BI) tools out there, surely there must be some great stuff for commerce.

Our customers proved us wrong.

The market is certainly not short of vendors but every time we ventured into our client’s IT, we observed that BI was nothing but painful and expensive ventures.

Enumerating pitfalls would be tedious. Let’s say that almost all solutions require at least one full time software developer to be of any use; and solutions that were not requiring a developer felt like toys when compared to Microsoft Excel.

Thus, we decided to venture into business intelligence ourselves. However, delivering yet another jack-of-all-trade solution supposedly equaly suitable for FOREX trading and car renting was an obvious pitfall we were committed to avoid.

Priceforge would be tailored for commerce.

Simplicity, power and reliability

Excel is a fantasically powerful tool, and yet, in the same time, because data and logic end up intrically mixed, it leads to unreasonably fragile processes where every refresh put the company at risk of silently breaking the logic buried in the middle of the data.

Merchants needed an approach that would bring both the power of Excel and the reliability of an industrial-grade process where the logic can be audited in-depth and incrementally improved through trials and errors. We decided to go for a tiny scripting language named Envision.

The syntax of Envision is largely inspired from the Excel formula syntax, and it’s orders of magnitude simpler than a general purpose programming language.