Price Tracking and Data Gathering: Gaining the Edge in E-commerce
Estimates suggest there are around 27 million E-commerce sites online today. That’s a lot of competition, even in niche markets. Targeting quality products at the right market segment is a good start, but customers demand more. Or rather less, if we’re talking about prices.
Developing a timely, proactive, and data-driven pricing strategy is key to elevating your E-commerce business above others. Price tracking and data collection play a defining role in shaping such strategies. Read on to find out how and why to offer the best prices in the nick of time to help your business thrive.
What Is Price Tracking and Why Does It Matter?
Price tracking is the systematic, long-term practice of identifying, collecting, and analyzing pricing data. Its chief benefit is enabling companies to base their pricing decisions and strategies on proven facts.
It used to be challenging to locate correct data and interpret the torrent of pricing and other fluctuations generated daily. The result? A haphazard sales strategy based on intuition or old principles, the digital era has made obsolete.
Price tracking deals with current and historical price data. Yet, its main goal is to uncover the insights needed to make your products attractive to a customer base with specific expectations from your brand.
For example, an online apparel store catering to fashionable young adults will want to price their products attractively while not slipping into bargain bin territory. Conversely, an exclusive jewelry store has few incentives to lower their prices. If anything, such companies readily exploit the fact that people are willing to pay more for status symbols.
Of course, there’s always the competition to consider. Tracking enables being up-to-date on prices, promotions, and the customer sentiment surrounding their products. This lets you offer rates that undercut others while optimizing margins and attracting more customers with established expectations of the market. In short, price tracking helps maximize your reach and growth opportunities.
The Importance of Real-Time Data for Developing a Successful Pricing Strategy
Starting to track prices doesn’t mean you’re not leaving money on the table. Monitoring and reacting to real-time pricing information before it’s too late is how to keep rates competitive while maintaining a healthy bottom line.
The hospitality industry is a prime example of real-time pricing hard at work and paying off. Adaptable hotels use sophisticated price tracking to gauge customer interest. It also helps spot gaps in competitors’ offerings.
It lets them develop an optimal renting strategy that accounts for seasonal spikes and off-season lulls. Most impressively, adopting a dynamic pricing strategy based on real-time data helps hotels incentivize guests to book the least desirable rooms during slow periods.
E-commerce stores see similar benefits. On the one hand, knowing how much competitors are currently charging for their products lets you position yours more favorably. You may lower prices slightly to stay competitive or offer incentives that add value to an otherwise more expensive purchase.
On the other hand, monitoring pricing fluctuations allows you to develop an optimum pricing strategy for less successful products. Access to timely data helps you determine how much to discount them for and when so they’re competing against the least number of alternatives.
How to Gather and Benefit from Real-Time Data?
Basing pricing decisions on real-time data only works in certain conditions. Specifically, you need a comprehensive means of gathering and interpreting the right information from as many relevant sources as possible. Automation is a must since manually amassing the data is tedious and prone to errors.
E-commerce scrapers are effective tools that developed in response to companies’ growing need to make data-driven financial decisions. They use scripted commands to access, search for, and extract prices or other information you specify.
Scraping is convenient since you can do it in short intervals. If it’s a truly volatile time, like the holiday season, gathering data several times per day and making pricing adjustments accordingly is possible.
You're not limited to single pages or websites either. A scraper can collect pricing data from as many individual stores or online marketplaces as your competition has a presence on. Only a complete picture will let you form your own pricing strategy! Scraping is the most efficient way of doing so without missing crucial sources.
Since E-commerce companies are forward-facing, all their pricing data is available for anyone to access. Scraping only makes the process far more efficient. However, you should always be aware of legal and ethical considerationswhen utilizing web scraping.
While instrumental, current prices are only a part of a successful pricing strategy. You'll also want to track supply fluctuations, customer demand, emerging trends, and changing attitudes toward existing and new products. Such seemingly unsurmountable demands get reduced to a few parameters you can tweak as you direct the scraper to extract all the information you need.
We live in a time where everyone with smartphone access can compare prices. They'll likely choose a competitor over something as seemingly trivial as a price difference of a few cents. Start basing your prices on hard real-time data, and don't let any more opportunities slip by.