Retail pricing is a business in itself; a risky one though. If you price the products too high, customers will conveniently spend somewhere else rather than your product and if you price your product too low, there are chances of losing the brand value. Price intelligence plays a role here when you have to find “just the right” value for your products to attract customers and leave them satisfied with the product value while standing in the competitive market.
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Retailers that have found the middle ground are using automated pricing intelligence, paired with a competitive strategy to maintain their brands in the market.
What is Pricing intelligence?
Pricing intelligence is the technique of tracking, monitoring and analysing the pricing data to know the market trends and adopt smart pricing changes to suit the customers.
Products changes prices often and requires retailers to simultaneously monitor and alter their prices to keep up with the dynamic pricing strategy. The strategy does not however mean that you lower the price of a product while comparing with the competitors.
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To keep the customers attracted, retailers have to act in time to know which competitor brand is adopting deals like “but one, get one” or “Get two on purchase of three”. Also, retailers should know which brands are to be sold at a premium price to keep the customers engaged to your brand.
With the kind of pricing that a business needs to follow, automated price setting has become essential. Price scraping softwares are thus developed to set cost for products more scientifically. Price scraping softwares are designed to automatically retrieve product price and information from the competitor’s websites. The scraped data can be posted to an ecommerce site in near real time.
Price scraping is a faster way to set competitive prices when supported with automated pricing software. Also, price scraping requires careful analysis and manual adjustments to tailor the data. Price scraping has proven to be a faster way to set competitive prices, but not necessarily a smarter way unless supported by automated pricing solutions.
Softwares for Automating Pricing intelligence
Price intelligence softwares are evolving with new technology and when combined with pricing intelligence tools like big data, cloud technology and AI, the pricing has become completely automated and scientific with little to no human involvement.
To compare products from competitor sites, you also need to scrape product descriptions, content etc. therefore, some business intelligence packages include automated product descriptions, content management, and other tools for automating an ecommerce site.
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Talking about Pricing software; they have the following advantages:
1 . Real time and automatic monitoring of market prices for your products.
2. Forecast optimum pricing before launch with powerful analytic tools.
3. Setting optimum price for each customer with the help of dynamic pricing solutions
Pricing intelligence is more than just scraping and collecting data. AI has made the lives of retailers easy as technology can decide how to use the data and set the best prices for their products on the website.
Discussed below are 5 Pricing intelligence tools:
Skuuudle is a UK-based pricing analysis platform offering the following features:
1. Data retrieval from any competitor website.
2. Monitoring for specific products or for entire product range
3. Monitoring competitor price changes real-time
4. Identifies like products even with different description
5. Use of AI and deep learning to learn about customer and competitive behaviour dynamically.
Skuuudle is hence an automated pricing engine that keeps developing itself with new features.
Competera is a multi featured pricing platform using technologies like AI, Cloud and big data to provide real-time pricing insights. Use of price centric tools and complex technologies to ease price setting for you. Features:
1 . Data features allow a variety of data collection options
2. Price intelligence features provides competitor’s pricing data
3. Price management feature lets you plan the perfect pricing strategies.
4. With price optimization, you can analyse and integrate prizes within your platform.
Competera also helps in data scraping, complete market analysis and AI based price recommendations, making it a powerful choice amongst digital marketers.
An ideal platform for all the small-to-medium ecommerce companies. Price manager is not very fancy in offering solutions, but it provides you with the basic need of monitoring your competitor’s prices and integrates that data into their platform. Some of the features are:
1 . Tracking product prices 24/7 on competitor’s marketplace websites in over 30 countries.
2. Provides email alerts
3. Data exporting and integration
4. Monitoring single products or of selected properties
These features, along with other basic needs that the platform covers, it serves its purpose well as a basic tool.
A robust, flexible platform with dynamic pricing fixtures is what Minderest has to offer as a competitive pricing platform. Some of the features are:
1 . Monitoring competitor prices and stock levels.
2. Monitoring competitors with different currencies
3. Optimizing profit margins so you never lose money on sale
4. Rule based algorithms to optimize prices 24/7
IMB has capitalized on its Watson AI cloud platform to serve a wide variety of industries and applications. Now dynamic pricing AI for ecommerce has been added to the list.
The IBM platform offers these features, among a host of others:
1 . Real time pricing
2. Monitoring changing market conditions with competitor’s pricing
3. Analysis of customer purchasing behavior
4. Integration withion with IBM WebSphere Commerce platform.
Allows condition-based scheduled automated pricing actions.
There is not much that needs to be said about IBM’s expertise in big data, cloud technology, and AI. For ecommerce companies that might need to scale up, the IBM Dynamic Pricing platform can handle you pricing needs now, and as you grow.
Main steps and retailers should adopt them for their long term growth
1 . From manual to automated monitoring:
Gone are those days when price changes were monitored manually as that practice is inefficient, time consuming and inaccurate in most cases. Manual methods can in no way provide a clear visibility into a retailer’s competitive brands.
The data is vast, and automation is the only way to cope up with growing company, growing numbers, keeping checks on SKUs and keep the data scalable.
Interesting Read : 5 Steps to Implement a Successful Price Intelligence Strategy
In the modern era, price monitoring means using algorithms to understand similar or same products, differentiating them even when the titles or images are the same, or when they are listed differently in different website layouts.
Algorithms cannot be trusted upon totally too. An algorithm should be able to function to locate the price even when the website layout changes. This is possible with re building the structure again. This is where human touch is necessary with technology. One should choose partners that offer a strong technical support and an efficient customer support too.
By automating competitive pricing analysis, retailers can receive accurate pricing data in a timely manner. This frees up valuable time and resources, eliminates potential human errors.
2. Creating a pricing strategy:
An effective pricing strategy requires identification of direct and indirect competitors in the same category. It is surprising to know that many brands and retail sellers lack insights in their own market; i.e, they are unaware of their competitors, their competitor brands and the prices that they should compare with.
To create an effective pricing strategy, pay attention to the pricing trends in the past. For example, when does the competitor brand start sales and promotions? Or when do Summer special deals start? Checking recurring behaviour with competitor set, retailers can learn about the success of a particular pricing trend and follow the same. By keeping an eye on market trends and behaviors, retailers can make quicker data-driven decisions and outperform their competitors.
Interesting Read : How to monitor competitor prices in e-commerce?
For a clothing brand, the competition is huge and the retailer needs to have any small bit of information that might be of use for you. Information like which garment is being sold? What are the promotions? What are the shipping options? This makes your brand creative, offer similar thing as competitors, and attract them towards your brand.
Data analysis is a crucial step as well to make it scalable. This can be done with the help of softwares that provide clear graphs to make the data usable and actionable for business users.
3. Take Action:
All the technologies put to use, price intelligence cannot be successful without taking immediate actions. If you collect data and just sit over it, do not analyse the data, it would become irrelevant over time. Have a plan when the data is ready to make the best out of it.
For example, if you collect a lot of data about rain coats in July and analyse the data in December; the data remains of no use. The prices become irrelevant, the target audience changes and your research becomes waste. Analyse the data when the market is hot and not keep it for the off months. The benefits of acting on more accurate data faster can mean a spike in sales and acquiring new customers.
Apply strategies to implement dynamic pricing strategies to get insights on marketing trends. Pricing intelligence will help you manage your relative price position in the competitive landscape, anticipate margin pressures, and boost revenue at the category level.
Use of proxies to automate price intelligence
Scraping data requires your interaction with various competitor websites time and again which exposes you to the risk of getting blocked due to machine like behaviour.
Proxies are a great help here. Proxies protect your actions when surfing the internet for gathering data. Proxies keep your identity protected and hidden and let the actions be shown as genuine.
When you send a request to view a website, proxy server receives the request and then sends it to the website. It changes your IP address in the process and thus keeps your identity hidden.Once the website approves, the content you seeked request for is becomes accessible to you.
With proxies for pricing intelligence, surf through any of your competitor’s website and start monitoring what pricing strategies they have implemented and frame yours according. You can even surf through past pricing records and analyze how were the pricing strategies then and how have the prospects reacted to it. All these can be conducted with a proxy server giving you the liberty to surf any information without leaving any trace of your existence there.
Interesting Read : Top 10 price comparison solutions 2020
Proxies like LimeProxies are a good option to use when using Automating softwares for pricing intelligence. With limeproxies, it is easy to scrape data from a lot of websites at the same time without compromising your identity and getting blocked by the service provider.
While automating pricing intelligence, you can:
1 . Identify the best scientific price for a product
2. Test pricing strategies in the market
3. Track competitors’ prices across multiple channels
4. Replace manual repricing with automation
5. Inform future pricing, marketing, and sales initiatives
6. Ensure competitive prices at scale