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Expert commentator | Smart Insights | Wed, 05 Oct 2016 10:00:00 +0000

 Learn How to Boost Your Marketing Return on Investment Performance by Tracking Competitor Prices and Assortments

E-commerce businesses face a very strong competition due to the fact that SMEs have entered into the online world almost as quickly as the biggest companies, such as Amazon or Alibaba, resulting in the existence of millions of e-commerce companies.

This great competition is not just focused on who sells something, but also on the earliest stages of the buying process, like getting customer attention when they are just looking for information prior to buying. E-commerce competition is one of the best examples of Porter’s framework, since online buying decisions depend on many factors that are hard to control. So we can think about making sales in e-commerce like a multi-stage mountain that e-commerce businesses need to climb to win the competition.

In this article, we will explain how pricing affects e-commerce competition and show how to become more competitive by getting smarter about it, in order to boost the marketing ROI of e-commerce companies to get and keep their customers.

Offering Attractive Prices Is Mandatory for Businesses of All Sizes

Any good marketer knows that the key to success is to be able to put himself in the shoes of the public. This is why marketing is so closely related to data analysis. Ideally, a good marketer will merge the information from data with his own experience to understand what the customers are thinking when they are about to buy. And there is one thing in which almost all marketers and customers agree: price matters! And here are some facts that support it:

  • about 25% of e-commerce website traffic comes from comparison shopping tools,
  • 90% of online shoppers compare deals on the Internet,
  • 6 out of 10 people state that pricing is the top factor in purchasing decisions.

Competitive prices will result in more traffic into your website. If people are researching deals and best prices, and you are offering the best ones, your business will appear at the top of the searches that customers are doing during their research.

Besides, pricing is not just a way to get more visitors by taking advantage of the price comparison engines available online and some sporadic sales, but it is also a way to make visitors loyal shoppers.

And it will improve the performance of other strategies that you may be developing, like for example pay-per-click advertisements. A common problem of pay-per-click ads is that the customers do click in the ad, but they also look in many other sites, so they end up buying from a competitor, while you have to pay the ad publisher by the click. But if you are offering the best price, this is a very unlikely scenario. And your conversion rate when someone clicks in the ad and lands on your page will rise spectacularly.

Make Your Marketing Strategies Cohesive With Your Pricing Competitiveness

Following with the idea stated in the section above, you can get advantage of competitive pricing intelligence by making your marketing strategies cohesive with your pricing competitiveness.This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lower your prices…actually, there are other pricing strategies. But you can improve your marketing performance with a better understanding of how customers see your products. Just follow these steps:

  1. Check which products of yours already have a good competitive pricing in the market.
  2. Check your marketing budget and see in which products’ advertisements you are investing more money.
  3. Do 1 and 2 have the same answer? They should.

Online advertisements may be much more profitable if instead of focusing on sales, you make your objective broader to get visitors – and also sales. If you focus only on sales, you will try to sell everything. If you also take a look at getting visitors, you will focus on advertising that your products are competitively priced, because that will bring more visitors to your site, and as stated before, the visits will have a higher conversion rate, with more customers buying more products in your e-shop.

Therefore, by just focusing your promotions on your most competitive products, you will improve your ROI without compromising on any margin cuts.

Similarly, you may notice that you are investing a large amount of money to promote a group of products which are not priced competitively. If that is the case, just finish this advertisement campaign that is just giving you visitors that will generate low conversion rates because of your pricing, since in the end, we all do that.We browse several competitors at the same time to compare their prices and get the best one.

ecommerce pricing

Product Assortment Is Also Important

Information is the key in e-commerce for both sellers and buyers, but not all buyers look for the same thing. While some buyers have a clear product in mind, others compare different brands before buying.

This is why assortment planning is also very important for e-commerce success. Ideally you would know what the most popular products are and offer them at great prices to attract visitors. But it is not just to offer them a proper price, but also the availability. It is important that they never find your business without stock. You may have the best price in the market, but if you don’t have stock you will lose the sale.

On the other hand, it would be great if you could be aware of the times when your competitors are out of stock, because this would be an opportunity to raise your conversion rates, margins or both.

For example, imagine that your competitors are out of stock in a popular item. This is a great chance to make a special investment in advertisements, and as customers won’t be able to find it on your competitors’ websites, they will continue researching and will likely end up on your website making the purchase. Again you will be improving your conversion rate and making a clever investment.

In this situation, another option you may consider is to raise your prices so as to get higher margins for each conversion, since the users will not find the products in the other companies and yours will be the chosen one.

Also, by monitoring competitors’ assortments, you can learn about the new products, brands or categories becoming popular and then start to add those into your e-commerce supply.

By comparing your assortment with competitors’ e-commerce businesses, you will learn a lot about the market that will allow you to be in stock with the highest demand products and position your business as a shop that never disappoints its users.

Businesses of All Sizes Can Use Automated Price Tracking Intelligence And Assortment Monitoring

The Internet has brought together the highest competitive market in the history of commerce, with businesses all around the world offering their products, and customers easily getting all the information they need from search engines. Keep in mind that information is not the enemy, but the solution. Technology also has developed tools for people trying to sell.

Traditionally companies gathered data with human workers and a great amount of paper. But now we are talking about global data, meaning e-commerce businesses need to track information worldwide. Luckily, information is publicly available online, and the only problem is the time it would take a human to collect it. Imagine how many workers you would need working full-time to be aware of your competitors’ pricing and product assortment for each reference in your business. Even if you limit your tracking to your 200 best-selling products, and your competitors to 15 businesses, you would need to check the price in 3000 pages, and then you would need to find out if they have stock!

But this can be done automatically. Prisync has solid expertise in delivering competitive pricing and assortment intelligence, and offers a service for the full automation of this data gathering process for e-commerce companies of all sizes with different pricing plans for every need, so all sizes of companies can afford this intelligence and boost their marketing investment ROI as explained in this article.