At GrowByData, we have been listening to customers and continuing to enhance our price intelligence software. The market is saturated with price intelligence tools – from the cheap repricers to the expensive, from the completely automated to those that are completely manual.
If you are a manufacturer and sell a few products, you may not urgently need a price intelligence software, although it is valuable to understand where the market is headed. However, if you a retailer selling over 1000 SKUs (even 100 if you are in a competitive yet high margin category), you definitely need a price intelligence software tool. Now, you may be selling products that don’t have children SKUs. In this case, existing price intelligence software solutions in the market may suffice. However, if you are selling products with child SKU (or variants), your repricer will throw errors, you will struggle to set the right prices with respect to competition and you will struggle.
As a pricing analyst, you need your competitive pricing tools to match your SKUs to those your competitor’s at a variant level. Without that precise match, your pricing tool will give you errors and you can’t do your job effectively.
We have heard retailers in the apparel category are particularly challenged by the price intelligence tools that they are using. They are not trusting their competitive pricing tool due to the poor quality of the competitive price data they are getting and the pricing errors that it is thus generating. Pricing analysts use the solution but it is not generating the results that they are expecting. Take this example – you sell a Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt Size Large in packs of 2. This costs $21.97. The same set for a size “Medium” costs $21.92. If you select a different color or other combinations like size, price is different. So you want your competitive price monitoring tool to tell you exactly how much a competitor is selling the same SKU Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt Size Large in packs of 2. If your repricer tool providers prices on a product with different attributes, you don’t have the apple to apple match and you won’t be repricing correctly.
What are the 3 problems with Competitive Price Intelligence Software?
1. We found that many competitive price intelligence software don’t provide this level of precision when they make a suggestion. They may suggest a price change, however, it may be for 1 T-Shirt vs 2 as in the example above. As a result of this incorrect competitive price, merchandising managers cannot trust the data and get frustrated. We have worked with pricing analysts who have utilized automated repricers, hated the bad data and stopped using their repricers going back to not doing repricing or trying to find competitors’ prices manually. If there are a few SKUs, you can find competitors’ prices. If you have a large product catalog, it is impossible to manually find competitors’ prices.
2. Pricing analysts worry that pricing is a race to the bottom with 100% reliance on automated price intelligence tools. With repricers constantly changing prices (especially Amazon repricers) , the fear is that margins will keep dropping and the retailer will ultimately lose money. Thus, retailers are seeking an intelligent repricer that adds intelligent rules to allow the retailer to make money and not lose money. Retailers know that other datasets like advertizing, stock, trends, and others are required to make smart pricing. Retailers must understand how often they should change prices and who they should change price against. If the retailer is a premium brand, they don’t want to be repricing vs one off ebay sellers.
3. Merchandising Manager are concerned that they must assign a resource to make the price changes. This is extra cost and adds friction to the purchase process. This adds to the Total Cost of Ownership. They are seeking competitive pricing data provider that they can trust, and one that can easily and automatically make price changes across their channels. Many times, retailers have their own pricing sciences team and they need the high quality raw pricing data.
What are 5 ways to solve Price Intelligence Software errors?
1. The Competitive Price Intelligence solution vendor will precisely match at SKU level with that of the competitor. This means, a size 9 Nike Air Jordan White shoe is compared exactly to the same pair of shoe – not size 9.5, not yellow color.
2. Results will be human verification as needed – especially when product content is limited and different. This is particularly important in categories like apparel, industrials and others with very little product content.
3. Price changes will account for data like competitive cluster, advertising, price elasticity and seasonality.
4. Pricing changes will be automatically exported to ecommerce carts like Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify & Yahoo, marketplaces like Amazon & Walmart, and advertising channels like Google Shopping, Bing & Facebook.
5. Pricing Insights will be integrated with other software tools that retailers use like Product Feeds and Product Information Manager. With this, the price changes can automatically be exported to the respective sales and ad channels.
How does our Price Monitoring Tool solve Pricing Manager’s problems?
If you are struggling as a Pricing Manager and your Competitive Price Intelligence software is not giving you the right competitive prices, please contact us to learn more about our Price Intelligence solution. Our solution is specifically good to generate competitive pricing data in categories like apparel, industrials and emerging categories with limited product content, lacking product identifiers like GTIN and ASIN.
The problem of wrong competitive prices show themselves when resellers are selling on their own websites or not using the right identifier on marketplaces. We use a combination of algorithms and human judgement to precisely match your SKUs to those of your competitors and offer very high quality results. When you have high quality competitive prices, you can set prices effectively, excel at your role as a pricing manager and not be dragged by issues with your price intelligence tool that throws errors.
How does our Price Monitoring Tool solve Channel and Brand Manager’s problems?
We have also heard same problem from brand managers who want to police their channel. Channel managers cannot detect their resellers effectively as the latter are using different product identifiers or using different product titles when they use Minimum Advertised Price – MAP monitoring software that cannot do SKU level matching. Results are that the channel manager will hear complaints only and only get frustrated.
With our solution, we go through a lengthy process to match and identify cases like this. Hence channel managers and brand managers using our Price Monitoring or MAP monitoring tools are not surprised by these edge cases. Thus, they are not spending their time frustrated trying to understand why their competitive price and MAP monitoring tools aren’t working.