5 Must-Have Capabilities of Your Ideal Competitive Pricing Intelligence Solution

5 Must-Have Capabilities of Your Ideal Competitive Pricing Intelligence Solution

11th Jun, 2024

Shailendra Nagarajan

By Shailendra Nagarajan

In the cutthroat world of retail, where razor-thin margins and fierce competition reign supreme, pricing becomes your secret weapon to driving sales. The magic bullet unlocks sales, attracts customers, and ultimately fuels your bottom line. But with ever-changing market trends and competitor tactics shifting constantly, effective pricing strategies become even more crucial.

A recent Bain & Company study highlights this very point. 78% of respondents acknowledged that their pricing decisions could be improved, leaving significant revenue untapped. John Furner, President and CEO of Kroger, echoes this sentiment. In a press release announcing a new pricing strategy, he emphasized their commitment to “providing our customers with predictable, affordable prices on the products they need most.” This focus on transparent and consistent pricing reflects the growing importance of building trust with customers, where value goes beyond just the lowest price tag.

The right pricing strategy can unlock a treasure trove of benefits for retailers, including attracting new customers, boosting sales, and ultimately increasing their bottom line.

But here’s the challenge: keeping pace with market trends and competitor strategies requires constant vigilance. This is where an advanced, user-centric pricing intelligence tool comes into play. Retailers need a platform specifically designed to address their unique challenges. It should empower them to protect margins, create a seamless pricing process, and attract and retain price-sensitive customers. To help you navigate this landscape, we’ve identified the must-have capabilities of a pricing intelligence solution that will transform your pricing strategy and propel your business toward long-term success.

1. Reliable and Accurate Data Collection

Retailers need a competitive intelligence solution that goes beyond merely capturing information en masse from competitor sites. An ideal solution ensures that data is consistent, extensive, and highly accurate, with an added level of granularity. This is achieved through statistical process control methods for data quality assurance, enabling highly accurate data capture and processing.

Such a platform should be capable of scraping data from various sources, including desktop sites, mobile sites, and mobile applications, as well as a variety of online platforms: aggregators, omnichannel retailers, delivery intermediaries, quick commerce platforms, D2C sites, and more. This versatility ensures that data is captured across any global region and in dozens of languages, making the system geography and language agnostic.

DataWeave’s solution includes a fast and automated data source configuration system, enabling a swift setup of new web sources for data capture. This capability ensures that retailers can stay ahead of the curve as the market landscape and competitor strategies evolve.

An effective competitive pricing intelligence solution allows retailers to move away from working with incomplete or inaccurate data and instead leverage a comprehensive information stream to create strategic pricing decisions and optimize their overall business strategy. At the end of the day, the insights you base your decisions on are only as good as the data you aggregate. Even with the world’s best analytics engine, it’s always a case of “garbage in, garbage out.”

2. Hyperlocal Insights From Store-Level Data

Monitoring pricing and availability across specific stores is crucial for retailers to gain critical insights into a vast network of locations, enabling them to make strategic decisions that enhance pricing strategies and supply chain effectiveness, thereby minimizing stockouts or pricing inefficiencies in key markets. A platform like DataWeave provides retailers with a comprehensive view of store-level data across ZIP codes, maintaining a hyperlocal competitive strategy. It offers detailed visibility into product availability, highlighting out-of-stock scenarios across different competitors. This capability is invaluable, allowing quick identification of price improvement opportunities and providing retailers with a bird’s eye view of where products can be priced higher than usual to gain margins.

The system operates at configurable intervals—daily, weekly, or monthly—enabling retailers to keep a vigilant eye on pricing, product availability, and delivery timelines based on the selected fulfillment option. Unlike many other providers who offer limited insights from a sample of stores, this solution delivers exhaustive analytics from every storefront. This comprehensive approach grants retailers (and brands) a strategic edge, facilitating efficient inventory tracking, precise pricing adjustments, and rapid responses to fluctuating market dynamics.

3. Sophisticated, AI-Powered Product Matching

A solution that matches products accurately at scale is essential for a robust and reliable competitive pricing strategy. Advanced platforms use unified systems for both text and image recognition to accurately match similar SKUs across thousands of eCommerce stores and millions of products. Deep learning architecture is employed to develop unique AI that matches text and images, grouping similar products based on their features, ensuring accurate matches even for private label products.

This AI identifies critical elements of products in images, such as focusing on the top half of a model wearing a shirt, the sleeve length, the color of the product, etc.. Deep learning models, trained on extensive datasets of images, enhance these images by removing irrelevant background details and improving the quality of the core product image. Innovative AI then extracts unique signatures from the photos, allowing for quick and efficient identification and grouping of products across billions of indexed items.

No matter how powerful the AI, combining it with human expertise is key to achieving true data veracity—ensuring accuracy, freshness, and comprehensive coverage required for reliable product matching. A human-in-the-loop approach elevates the AI-powered product matching process by addressing key challenges. AI algorithms may initially identify product matches with 80-90% accuracy, but human validation corrects errors, pushing accuracy closer to 100%. Humans apply contextual judgment for subjective criteria like aesthetics and design, making nuanced decisions that quantitative rules might miss. Continuous learning through an iterative feedback loop allows AI models to quickly adapt to changing trends and preferences as human experts provide context and re-label incorrect predictions. By integrating AI’s automation and scale with human validation, judgment, and knowledge curation, pricing intelligence solutions can achieve the accuracy and coverage necessary for actionable competitive pricing insights.

This approach results in retailers being able to match products and compare prices between identical products, similar products, and private label brands.

4. Unit of Measure Normalization

Effective product matching and grouping are crucial for maintaining competitive pricing, but this requires a tech stack that can normalize units of measure across various sites. For example, a 10.75oz can of chicken noodle soup priced at $3 may seem cheaper than a 12.90oz can priced at $3.20, but this isn’t always the case. Initially, the larger package might appear more expensive, but when prices are compared based on the same unit amount, it often offers better value. Therefore, it is essential for retailers to standardize units to accurately compare prices. Advanced technology goes beyond simply matching products; it ensures accurate comparisons by normalizing unit measurements, including weight, quantity, and volume—crucial factors for establishing a clear pricing picture across competitors.

Imagine comparing soup prices regardless of whether they are advertised in ounces, milliliters, or liters. By normalizing unit measurements, retailers can develop tailored pricing strategies on a level playing field, eliminating the risk of being misled by seemingly lower prices that conceal smaller quantities. Unit normalization allows retailers to uncover hidden value propositions by accurately determining the cost per unit, enabling them to set competitive prices, highlight the true value of their products, and make data-driven decisions.

5. Ease of Actionability

The most valuable insights are ineffective if they cannot be easily accessed and acted upon. Imagine a solution that not only provides industry insights but also customizes alerts and dashboards to show exactly how your prices compare to competitors in your specific categories and product groupings. An ideal solution would offer all this in one centralized platform, giving retailers easy access to data through intuitive dashboards, seamless data export options, and flexible API integrations. This enables a smooth, effortless process for adopting and utilizing the platform.

Ease of use and actionable insights should be at the core of such a solution. A SaaS-based web portal can provide businesses with access to insights through user-friendly dashboards, detailed reports, and impactful visualizations. Customized insights tailored for each persona within the organization facilitate swift actions on relevant competitive intelligence. Whether it’s day-to-day tactical recommendations or inputs for long-term strategies, the platform should ensure that all insights are easily consumable and actionable.

Moreover, the data should be accessible using plug-and-play APIs, enabling businesses to integrate external data with their internal pricing or ERP systems and BI tools. This integration generates predictive intelligence, enhances decision-making, and drives more robust business outcomes.

Choosing the Right Pricing Intelligence Solution Will Determine Your Success

Retailers need to leave behind generic pricing intelligence tools. For true success, retailers need a solution built to tackle their specific challenges. With capabilities like comprehensive data collection capturing granular details across regions and languages, local insights into store-level data for informed decision-making, accurate price comparisons with unit normalization, and access to actionable insights, retailers gain a complete and holistic picture of the pricing landscape, setting them up for success. Additionally, AI-powered and human-aided product matching ensures accurate competitor analysis

These are just some of the essential capabilities DataWeave offers to retailers. By prioritizing these, retailers can transform their pricing strategy into a profit-generating machine, keeping them ahead of the curve and exceeding customer expectations in a competitive market to help them stay at the forefront of their categories.

To learn more, talk to us today!

- Shailendra Nagarajan
Director, Global Marketing at DataWeave, 11th Jun, 2024

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