The e-commerce market is currently developing very dynamically. The market expansion also implies the change of the strategies used by online stores regarding content, marketing, and price management. It is visible in industries such as electronics, where there is strong competition between online stores, and margins are very low. The fight for the customer adopts more advanced methods in the form of new types of promotion and marketing activities. Tracking competition prices is a key factor influencing pricing strategies.
Producers of price-tracking software in online stores face this change, providing an even greater scope of monitoring, going much further than only prices and availability. The aim is to provide complete information about the offer, which will enable the client to effectively face the competitors.
So you should pay attention to when choosing a tool for price tracking?
1. Collecting complete information about products
Reliable information about the offer can no longer be limited to reading the price from the product page. It must also contain a list of all promotions, which may include:
- Freebies / Bundles
- Discount Codes
- Discount on the purchase of additional products, e.g. 2nd product 20% cheaper
- Installments 0%
- Free shipping
- Prices crossed-out
- Bargains – product lists
- Deferred installments / deferred payment
Each of the promotions mentioned increases the attractiveness of the product to the customer and may affect the choice of a given product or store. It is also necessary to use this data in pricing management, as it can significantly affect the assessment of the price of the product from the customer’s perspective. Even the best pricing rules will not work properly if they base on incorrect data.
These data show us the strategy of the competition in the e-commerce market.
2. Collecting information about the features of products in the online store
Analyzing the market often requires checking the offers of similar products (with similar features). Therefore, the software must have the functionality of collecting information about the product features.
Having such data gives the possibility of:
- Easy search for competitive products – verifying their pricing strategies and promotions in which they participate
- Searching for errors in product descriptions
3. Matching products
Most of the available solutions match products only using names and codes. The problem arises when this data is missing in the online store. Therefore you should make sure that the software you choose:
- Uses AI to support automatic matching
- Collects and uses product features
- Offers “manual” matching supervision – matching quality verified by a human
Only all of the above functionalities ensure, that the product matchings will be of appropriate quality, which is crucial, especially in the case of automatic price management.
4. Monitoring frequency
The monitoring frequency required by customers depends on the product category and the monitored market specifics. Weekly product monitoring may be sufficient for some market areas, while in other cases 6 times per hour may be needed. It is important to make sure that the selected software can monitor products frequently enough, as well as the possibility to set the different frequencies to specific products. This option is especially important for cost optimization because the customer often needs a high frequency only to scan some key products to maximize profits.
A higher frequency of scanning data means the possibility of a quick reaction to price changes in competitive stores. Especially if we use pricing rules to manage prices, any delay in obtaining competitors’ prices results in a potential loss of revenue.
5. Monitored sources
Monitoring prices only in online stores in e-commerce is no longer enough. It is crucial that the selected software can also monitor:
- price comparison websites
- auction websites (e.g. Allegro, eBay)
- industry portals (where offers can be found – reference links lowering the price)
- marketplaces (e.g. Amazon, with offers from all traders)
In practice, the best strategy is to track prices directly in online stores (with high frequency) with the highest sales volumes and check prices in price comparison websites (monitoring the prices of smaller stores). Additionally, the prices of the most popular auction website on a given market should be monitored. This approach guarantees that we cover most of the market (including the second-hand goods market – Allegro, eBay).
Price monitoring in e-commerce is a complex issue. Customers looking for an effective solution must pay attention to whether the application has the appropriate functionalities, but what’s more important, whether the data provided is of appropriate quality. Therefore, it is always worth asking for a demo version of the software, and also avoid long notice periods (more than 3 months is unacceptable). In principle, the cheapest solutions should basically, be rejected immediately, because they are characterized by the low quality of services.
From the user’s point of view, the system must allow the reports to be adapted to their requirements and guarantee the appropriate quality of service.
If you’re a manufacturer, it is worth checking if the software monitors other brand visibility elements in online stores (Digital Shelf).
If you run an online store and want to maximize your profits, the most important criteria for you will be the matching quality, the scope, and frequency of data collection.
Manager with experience in leading team of software developers and testers during implementation of internal and external IT projects. Ceo of Brandly360.com.