Price tracking

What is price tracking software?

Price tracking software goes by many names: price scraping, price monitoring, and price comparison software, just to name a few. Whatever you prefer to call it, price tracking software can make a huge difference in your pricing strategy by helping you be more aware of your key competitors and the prices of their items so you may in turn set optimal prices for your products.

How competitor price monitoring software works

As implied by the term “price scraping,” price tracking software uses bots to “scrape” information from competitor websites such as product model numbers, photos, descriptions, and prices. The software compiles this information for you in one place so you are able to compare competitor prices with each other and your own. This information gives you a good perspective of your market, and can help you utilize dynamic pricing effectively.

As mentioned before, some price tracking software can also give you information on more variables besides competitor prices, such as promotions and assortment. Knowing these factors can further enhance your own pricing strategy. For example, if you know a key competitor on the market is out of stock of a certain item, you may be able to raise your prices and maximize profit without major risk of impacting your sales.

Not all price scraping software is the same

One aspect of price tracking software that is very important to consider when selecting the right one for your company is how they scrape information from competitor websites and how often they do so. Many sites and software companies offer very cheap price scraping services, but it is cheaper for good reason.

Companies are very aware of the fact that their websites are being scoured for information, and they do everything they can to protect this information from bots using various CAPTCHAs or javascript coding. What this means for your price scraping software, is that if their bots are not advanced enough, they will likely fail to obtain the necessary information because of these protective measures. Even worse, they will likely not alert you to the fact that this information is missing or out-of-date, meaning that you will be unaware that you are using incorrect information to set your prices.

How often your software gives you information is also very important. The retail market is very fast-paced and competitive, meaning if you are setting prices based on information that was scraped yesterday, this data may already be outdated. Some software providers may only do weekly data scraping, or even if they do daily data scraping, they may not inform you what time of day this data was collected. All of this information is vital to your pricing strategy, so it is important that you ensure you know exactly how fresh your pricing data is.

How to choose the best pricing tool for your company

Knowing all of this, there are a few key factors to think about to ensure you select the right price monitoring software for your company:

  1. Data quality. Make sure that the data collected by the software is fresh and accurate. Many companies will offer a data quality guarantee in their SLA, so be sure to look over this carefully. Good data is the basis of a good pricing strategy, so this is not a variable that should go overlooked.
  2. Data delivery. The software you select should be able to deliver the data you need exactly when you need it. If you need your data given to you at noon every day, make sure that your provider has agreed to this and can deliver your data accordingly.
  3. Ease of use. Price tracking software should help you take the complexity out of collecting and analyzing competitive data. If the software’s platform is not user-friendly, it is not doing its job of enhancing your pricing process. An easy-to-understand user interface will ensure that you can monitor your competitors in a way that saves you time and resources.
  4. Customer care. A price monitoring software that does not provide you with excellent customer service may prove to be a waste of your time should you have any questions or concerns about your product. Make sure your provider is quick to respond to you when you need them, and can help you address any of your inquiries regarding your software and how you use it.

Conclusion

Price tracking software can prove to be a vital asset to your pricing process by giving you key market insights to base your pricing strategy on. The difference between a mediocre software provider and an excellent software provider may not be evident at first glance, but using the information we have covered, you should be able to select the right software for your business that results in saving time, money and spares you the headache of spreadsheets and manual price monitoring.