When it comes to ecommerce, competition is certainly fierce
. There are so many different established and emerging markets – more and more each day, in fact – that it is inevitable that even the most diverse and seemingly unique ecommerce businesses are going to come across some serious competition at some point, and it will more likely be sooner than later.
Price might be the only thing that differentiates one business from the next. Consumers are so easily able to search around for the best price for them and compare the goods and services on offer that price has become one of the most important elements of ecommerce entirely. It only takes a few clicks for consumers to find alternatives that fit their budget better.
That means that ecommerce businesses need to look at how they are marketing
and adapt that to ensure they are offering as much as they can for the lowest price. You’ll often see phrases such as ‘best price’ or ‘lowest offer’ in their advertising in order to attract the most customers to their online store. The problem is, of course, ensuring that this is true – there are so many rules and regulations when it comes to advertising that if you claim something, you better have the evidence to back it up.
Employing someone to check all the prices in your sector is one option. But this is a Sisyphean task and not something that is easy to do, let alone foolproof. This is where automation comes in. Tracking prices automatically for your ecommerce business can ensure that you are able to keep on top of competitors’ pricing and remain part of the market.
How To Get Started
In order to get started with automating your price tracking and checking you need to ascertain just who your competition really is
, and then decide which ones are the most important to track. Unfortunately, you can’t track everyone and every store – although the tech is there, managing all the millions of results would be impossible. So you need to choose the ones that are most likely to pull customers away with their pricing and their products. Researching your competitors as thoroughly as possible to find out which ones you should look more closely into is imperative; that way you can use the current technology and not be overwhelmed by the results.
As well as competitors, you can track every product, but this would give you even more results than the competitors themselves. Therefore, you’ll also need to choose which products to track. You can do this by working out which are the most popular, and which are the most price sensitive.
Key brands or categories within your business should be determined so that you can concentrate on these areas.
(done either by yourself or through a third party organisation) will help you to obtain these answers. Once you have them, you can initialise the automated price tracking so that you can at least see what your most ‘dangerous’ competitors are doing and ensure your best products (most profitable, perhaps, or the ones you sell in the highest quantity) are priced correctly.
You might think there are just too many shops to compare, and you would be right – there are far too many. This is why prioritizing your competitors is crucial if you are going to get anywhere with automated price track.
In order to determine exactly which online stores are the most powerful competition you should look into:
- Web traffic performance
- How much revenue they are making
- Who is most similar to you in terms of products and services
These figures are much easier to obtain than searching through Google every few hours to ensure that your prices are still matching up. The sites with the highest amount of web traffic and the biggest incomes are the ones you need to focus on.
Find The URLs
You now know who and what you are tracking, but you need more than this; you need the relevant URLs to each of the products on each of your competitors’ websites. With this, you can see what the stock availability is which is another bonus to automation; when their stock is low, you will know which of your products to push in your marketing so that the people who want to buy will have somewhere else to turn when their usual source runs out.
Using a company like Competitor Monitor
means that you don’t have to do this time consuming, never-ending task as they will do it all for you; your results will be more accurate and giving to you in real time.
Once you know who and what you are going to track, the next step is full automation. Using a price tracking tool, for example Competitor Monitor, which visits each site you have listed and returns with the pricing and stock information you need, you can determine exactly how you are going to price your own goods and services (along with an eye on your profit margin which Competitor Monitor can also do, of course).
At this point you will be able to save a huge amount of time and effort. Now you don’t have to hire anyone for the task either, saving you money and/or ensuring that any staff you do have are able to carry out the own tasks without being distracted by price checking duty.
When you are accurately tracking competitors’ prices, you will be able to:
- Update your prices to fall in line
- Ensure you always have enough stock compared to others
- Receive reports as to how your competition is faring
- Track reviews
- Monitor competitors’ promotions
One of the most important features of any price checking tool is the frequency that it checks the prices. Once a month just isn’t going to be enough, for example, and a number of times a day is probably not going to give you much of an insight into what is happening.
Competitor Monitor checks prices once every 24 hours, again to do this multiple times a day may provide too much data to action, depending on the market. Quick changing items such as gold bars or currency would require many daily changes. More standard items should be fine with daily checks, with a look to update these during key periods, for example Black Friday or other sales.
The great benefit to all of this is that as more competitors arrive and others become less of a threat, the system can be altered to take these into account instead of the previous names and URLs. This means that you won’t fall behind and you won’t miss out.
Using a price monitoring service like Competitor Monitor means that you will be able to keep on top of the competition and ensure that you are always able to compete on price when you want and need to. You will also be able to determine exactly what products and services are selling well and keep those at the top of your line.