BOGO Helper

mkoeselmkoesel USAMember Posts: 97
edited April 2011 in Brickset.com
I actually had this idea a couple years back and thought about developing something myself but I am pretty well convinced I'll never get to it. :) So I figured I just share it here and see if perhaps it makes sense for it to be considered for a Brickset feature.

The idea is pretty simple: you supply a list of sets you want (which could just be all of your wanted sets, but not necessarily - though this would be a good starting point) and the prices they go for at a given store. It then tells you which ones you should pair up for a BOGO (or BTGO as is sometimes the case) sale. Now, I realize this isn't really rockset science, however, there are a number of variables that can make it tricky. First off, if something is not in stock when you go to the store, it can really foul up your plans. The BOGO Helper, though, would just allow you to mark sets as excluded and reshuffle everything for you, giving you an updated optimal plan of attack. Additionally, it could allow ad-hoc price adjustments if, for example, it turns out that some set is on clearance at the store you happen to go into. Finally, an advanced feature could include the ability to optimize over multiple stores in the case of two different BOGO sales happening at once (such as durring the holidays).

I should add that, as far as maintaining inventories and pricing for a given store, this could be a community effort (wiki style, maybe), so as to make additional involvment on the part of the admin as low as possible.

Not only would this making planning Lego shopping trips a bit easier, it would also be a great way to show your significant other how much money you are about to save. :)

Let me know what you think.

Comments

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    I understand what you're trying to solve: it's quite a juggle to pair up sets for BOGO 50% offers.

    However, I think the variables needed for the tool will undermine its usefulness. You mention many of them already, but to complete my logic here, I'll restate:

    First, there are frequently only select themes available for the promotion, so you would need to filter those. Second, you wouldn't know the availability of each set until you're at the store. Third, in instances where there are three different sets at the same price, you would need to provide input on which of the two you prefer, and if you still want to couple the third set with a lesser value set.

    In the end, I think it's just easier to make all these considerations using that tool that sits within our head :P
  • mkoeselmkoesel USAMember Posts: 97
    edited April 2011
    I understand your concerns. Still, rarely have I come across a computational task that is not best solved by a computer. Of course, the rub is that the software must be good enough to handle the problem space and all the variables involved. :)

    To clarify a bit more, the idea is that you would interact with the tool both before going out to the store in order to get everything setup as best as you can with the data you have, and then again once at the store to make the needed tweaks as necessary. So you may adjust the "target set list" and pricing once you get to the store if you need to. As far as priority based on the sets involved, the idea is that you want a set and you are prepared to get it even if it means pairing with another set not of identical value. This is where the tool would really shine since it could show you immediately how much you'll save. Also, the tool could have a preference setting for this (never/always pair sets of different value). Plus it could have a discount threshold setting. This would let you tell it to never allow less than a specified percentage savings of the maximum discount potential for a given set (or alternatively, just some absolute dollar amount).

    Anyway, in the end it might not be a task that is in scope for Brickset-proper. But at least with the idea out there, maybe some enterprising individual will have a go at it. :)
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Actually, what I really think would be great for consumers everywhere is if stores of a particular size were legally required to publish their current prices for the day for all UPC coded items on sale in a simple standard database format. Each unique item as identified by UPC would have a price and availability listed specific to the location of each store. The moment this type of information would become available digitally on a nationwide scale, you'd see developers jump on it and create wonderful shopping apps that would let consumers find the cheapest place to buy things.

    The benefits to society would be great. The economic theory of supply and demand hinges on perfect markets. Unfortunately markets are imperfect, one reason being imperfect information. My unrealistic proposal would severely reduce the problem of imperfect information at a minimal cost with today's technology.

    The biggest problem with your suggestion @mkoesel is that the information required for computational analysis is not readily available. You'd need to enter it manually. The information is volatile and geographically variable. If the input method is not automatic, then the tool becomes cumbersome to use.

    That being said, I think @mkoesel has a cool idea. It reminds me of http://gasbuddy.com/
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,702
    Now, I'm aware that I might be about to make a real prat of myself but I'm struggling with this. I'm actually doubting what I thought was obvious and need a slap if I'm wrong.

    I'm no wizz with mathematics, but I thought the rule one needed to adhere to was to always group the highest values together to walk away with the best deal. Obviously, you need to work within the restrictions like theme selection for example, but regardless of variables like that, if it's bogof, then you pay for the most expensive and get the second highest on your list (in stock and right theme etc.) for free. If it's btgof, then you pay for the two highest and get the third highest free. If there are four items you want and it's bogof, then you pay for the first and third highest and get the second and fourth free - usually with the requirement (in the UK anyway) of buying with separate transactions. You always just group the expensive items together that are in stock on the day of purchase - whether it be online or in store.

    It is very possible I have misunderstood the concept and if so, please go gentle. :)
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @flump6523 You've got the idea. To be more specific, you want each pair of sets to be as close to equal value as possible. Best case scenario, they cost the same. Why?

    Buy One Get One Free
    Set1 Set2 Savings
    10 10 50%
    10 9 47%
    10 8 44%
    10 7 41%
    10 6 38%
    10 5 33%
    10 4 29%
    10 3 23%
    10 2 17%
    10 1 9%

    The farther the sets are apart in price, the less you save.
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