Timing is everything, especially when deciding when to purchase a product or service. Currently today there are many price comparison sites that will offer to find you the best 'deal' - using techniques to aggregate offers and price information into one place. Other websites show you historical data on product and category price, but wouldn't it be great if you could also understand the best "time" to make the purchase too?

Factors such as product release cycles, seasonality effects, supply / demand volumes and competitive influences all affect the price.

Couple with this the 'loss of use of the product' for the period you are deferring your purchase and you have a complicated array of effects to grapple with in making your decision.

When to buy - products are different

Buying a product differs from say an airline ticket purchase - with a ticket you obtain no benefit from the purchase until the date you fly.

With product you have the dilemma, should I buy now, paying a higher price but gaining the 'benefit' of the product. Will the saving by waiting another two weeks outweigh the benefits and gratification I would otherwise achieve by buying here and now?

Crystal balls

Microsoft have started to tackle this issue by mining large data sets containing sales data, market research information and making use of product "category" trending to forecast price fluctuation and change with a accuracy of over 70%. Using various statistical models and data collection and analysis techniques it offers us a window into a future where we will not only be advised where we can obtain the best deals, but also the all important 'when' to buy.

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