Competitors prices monitoring (offline and online): programmes and services

Competitors prices monitoring is efficient to model the profitable business. Let us check the methods of data collection, automatized processes for prices information collecting among competitors.



Competitors prices monitoring and its aim

Monitoring – market research which aim is to collect the information about current pricing, trends and tendencies in certain business segment for building the goals and tasks, along with marketing plan in competitive environmnet. In brief, this is competitors prices monitoring aiming your own offer.


Many companies have the marketing department whose task is directly the price monitoring.


The maon goals of such researches:

  1. to predict market situation;
  2. to forecast the competitors' actions;
  3. to set competitive prices in products distribution channels;
  4. to search new partners and supplyers;
  5. to search the possabilities of development for related products and new clients.

It is difficult to gain optimal product sales process without knowledge about current price policies and how competitors set the offer. That is why the main aim of price research is to form your own successfull business. You can say, price monitoring is applyed not only in distribution and sales.


Ordinary product buyer is also the participant of trade relations. That is why constant monitoring of prices for certain product allows to buy most qualitative goods for lower prices.



The ways to collect the information about competitors' prices

Struggle for buyer is linked tightly to product price forming. The market changes are researched monthly or qurterly. There are few ways to collect the data about competitors products prices. Let us list them.


For store

One of the most easiest ways is to visit the trade spot and just check the price tag. The only dificulty is shop administration's ban for copying or video- and photographing of product shelves.


Although price copying is not banned legally. This is customers' opportunity to analyze the prices and make a decision what to buy. In any business friendly relations with competitors are preferable, so you can go «quid pro quo». Therefore the both sides would be benefited.


Straw buyers

Product or service can be complex. It is difficult in this case to define the price in the shop. You will need the potential buyer. This method is acceptable first few times, then competitor company will identify the false customer and under the best circumstances stop the service politely, under the worst ones – to give incorrect information.


That is why the recommendation is to use different phone numbers and e-mails. Straw buyer needs clear legend why he or shee needs these goods and services. Besides, the one should avoid usind professional words to shown oneself as not competent person.


Spy method

Marketologists use various not very honest ways to collect the information. Spy method includes the whole complex of various tools for this task fulfilment. Ususaly this method is essential, if there is no full information in Internet and other open resourses. This method is usual at serious business spheres, considering discount system and contract relations with VIP-clients.

  1. Get data from fired employees. Often the ex-employees feel offensed or are indifferent at least. So these people can be valuable information sourse.
  2. Work with clients. Clients are always looking for the better offer. After some understanding gained, you can get the topical information about prices and discounts of your competitors.
  3. Researchers from ministries.This method would work if you introduce yourself as major non commercial corporation. all needed information would be given by them. For example, International Business Development Research Center, there is actually no such organization, but long beautiful name will blur your competitors' alertness.
  4. Virtual company. Another way to handle with huge megapolis is introdicing as small regional company. The address given can be rented apartment. This method is applied by many regional offices.

How to define the list of competitors for prices monitoring

In marketing all competitors are divided to direct, industry, induirect and potential ones. Big companies monitor huge group of competitors. But to form the currnet price you willneed the information about direct competitors.


Direct competitor is the competitor who produce the same product of the same price category. There are few ways to find these companies:

  1. Online search. It is enough to find the key words for your competitor activity type, and search system will show on the first page all competitors in local region.
  2. Product agregators as Koongpo etc.
  3. Various exhibitions, seminars and other events related to compzny activity.
  4. Media, building analysis and statistics for various business spheres.
  5. Directories and maps by Google etc.
  6. Review web sites Epinions.com etc.

How to automatize the information collection

There are the specialized software able to collect the prices information in automatic mode. They are needed especially for online shops. For any small business it is cheaper to use automatic analytics rather than outsource it or hire qualified specialist.


Competera

This service collects data from open sources – competitors' web sites or popular markets like Ebay. The data is analized daily, this software costs about 120$ per month. The report displayes the dynamics of competitors' prices, offers analytics and conclusions per product or category.


Metacommerce

You can use it also as one time information resourse, this option costs about 75$. Full function mode with interface settings for certain manager will cost about 750$. This software has big data base of prices, product availability and assortment.


Pentagon

This software's feature is the opportumity to send the alert in case of price rapid change. In the rest this is standart software. But it has the limitation up to 5 competitors. Its cost is about 109$,which includes prices monitoring weekly. Daily reports are availably for 159$ and more.


Collected information processing

The final stage is data processing with automatized tool. Often the storage and processing are done by the same software listed above, as Competera, Metacommerce. But some managers offer the development of their own Prices Monitoring System (PMS).



Such service should be able to classify obtained data and correlate them. Usual Excel tables would be enough for small companies. But major companies have with the marketing department also the department of developers and technical department for constant PMS working.


Competition is the basis of ecomonic. And in order to fit consumers' demand, it is essential to create adequate and interesting offer. Which is possible to create only in case you know the competitors' prices.


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