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18 Jul
 
As with any multi-part strategy, there are several ways that competitive monitoring can be implemented, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There are two primary methods of monitoring: manual monitoring and automatic monitoring. Automatic monitoring is further subdivided into two smaller implementations, self-service monitoring and full-service monitoring.

 

1.       Manual Competitor Monitoring

Manual monitoring, typically employed by start-up retailers, is certainly more effective than completely ignoring the competition and carrying out no monitoring activities at all, but this creates a range of potential problems.

The most prominent issue is the incredible amount of time that manual monitoring can take. Start-up retailers generally have minimal human and financial resources, with the operational demands of running a business leaving little to no time for effective competitor monitoring.

Aside from the time commitment of gathering initial data, the task of correlating it all manually introduces yet another level of potential human error, where something as simple as a transposition error could hide a potentially lucrative sales opportunity or create a falsely positive impression of the state of the market. Even combining manual monitoring with some of the general tools available to bargain-hunting consumers could still prove an ineffective method.

The problems of manual monitoring are further compounded by the fact that prices change regularly due to factors such as promotional discounts, inventory changes, new product releases and the price monitoring activities of other retailers. The time investment required to manage all of this is a consistently heavy drain on resources, and it ensures that important opportunities will be overlooked.

 

Why Automate Competitor Monitoring?

Automated competitor monitoring overcomes almost all the issues created by manual competitor monitoring. By taking advantage of technologies developed specifically for competitor monitoring, any retailer can quickly correlate hundreds, thousands and millions of products, prices and promotions across an entire industry while simultaneously keeping tabs on fluctuating inventory levels and media mentions. The benefits of a comprehensive competitive monitoring truly become apparent. Over time, retailers can use the competitor data gathered to spot trends and patterns automatically presented as graphs and charts, allowing complex data sets to be easily understood and future trends predicted with greater accuracy.

 

2.       Self-Service Automated Competitor Monitoring

Self-service monitoring is a good way to explore how competitive monitoring strategies can be implemented while keeping cost outlays at a minimum. For small businesses with limited resources or in retail sectors where there isn't a great deal of market fluctuation, this is often the approach that offers the best return on investment.

However, the self-service method does have several issues that limit the effectiveness of the monitoring. The largest issue is the time investment required in order to manage the monitoring data, as every product to be tracked must be manually entered into the database. A slight change in the configuration of a competitor's website can completely block the software from continuing to monitor it, creating an unreliable dataset that can lead to flawed conclusions.

 

3.       Full-Service Automated Competitor Monitoring

Full service monitoring is the most thorough competitor monitoring solution available, combining all the benefits of automated monitoring with a dedicated account manager who helps to analyse collected data and highlight potential opportunities. Full-service monitoring empowers businesses to use the data to turn prospects to customers and users into buyers.

The only drawback to full-service monitoring is that it may be outside the budget of smaller retailers, who may find that a self-service automated solution is more attuned to their needs. Full-service monitoring can always be adopted in the future as a business grows and the need for a more thorough monitoring solution outpaces the ability of an in-house team to manage it.

 

Conclusion

Competitor Monitor offers a full suite of intelligent tools designed to monitor the five major elements that form a comprehensive competitor monitoring strategy: available products, pricing, relevant promotions, available inventory, and customer reviews / media mentions. Account managers are on hand to help configure the various elements to be tracked, and then to help analyse the data and highlight potential opportunities. Sophisticated autonomous software continuously collates relevant data and ensures that tracking data is always up to date, regardless of how the competition changes their online presence.

Don't waste valuable time on tasks that our proprietary technology and dedicated support teams can handle with ease.  

Don’t just take our word for it, request a demo and see it in action for yourself.

 

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