New Real-Time Assortment Intelligence Tool Helps Retailers Beat Their Competition

"Retailers today need every technological advantage they can get to track competitors' pricing and assortment in real time," said Gartner research vice president, Kevin Sterneckert, in an interview earlier this week. "Increasingly-savvy consumers are forcing retailers to alter pricing strategies, so it is imperative for multichannel retailers to be opportunistic and flexible with their pricing so they don't miss opportunities," Sternecker noted.

Not coincidentally, Upstream Commerce, this week -- in response to many customers' expressed "wishes" -- unveiled the latest tool in the Company's Retail Intelligence Suite -- Assortment Intelligence -- a powerful capability enabling retailers to easily track assortment of their competitors' products in real-time to heighten their own capabilities re pricing and inventory, and optimize their own product assortment relative to competitors.  

"Retailers today need every technological advantage they can get to track competitors' pricing and assortment in real time." 

Assortment Intelligence provides an unprecedented level of 24/7 visibility and insights into competitors' product assortments.  Retailers can look at their competitors' product mix, segmented by product and brand, percentage of overlap, which, most important, gives the retailer the ability to quickly adjust his own product-mix and pricing with great accuracy.  

With Assortment Intelligence, retailers can:

* View the overlap between their assortment and that of their competitors.

* Get real-time assortment data about their competitors, updated at least once a day.

* Compare and analyze competitive product assortment by brand.

* Gain valuable insights into how competitive their product mix really is.

Assortment Intelligence also provides users with latest updates and alerts, reports, pricing opportunities, custom reports, and assortment analysis. With this information, retailers can better plan and create a more effective merchandising strategy, and remain highly competitive.

With Assortment Intelligence, the retailer can see what he carries that is the same as his competitors; what his competitor carries that he doesn't (and decide whether to carry it); and what the retailer carries that his competitor does not carry, and this information provides the advantage/opporunity to the retailer to set the best price for himself. 

Assortment Intelligence is a tool needed by merchandising and pricing managers, eCommerce managers and buyers, product marketing managers and specialists, and business executives and owners. The powerful tool with powerful results makes it practical to use competitive information on a regular basis and will help retailers decide what products to carry, not just how to manage them and price them.

Here's just one example of what a retailer can do with his brand overlap information: 

 

 

The illustration above shows that it has matched 179 products by name, then lists My products (i.e. products that the user carries), My overlap with competitors (i.e. how many products within a brand you have in common with competitors), and view each competing company to see which products/which percent of products you specifically have in common with them.  

Using Assortment Intelligence, the retailer can view products in many ways, and analyze how competitive he is overall for a specific product:

 

You can search for a specific product, learn where else it's available, and, at a glance, see how much you price it for, and, equally or more important, what the competition is charging for that product.

The highly-sophisticated, fully-automated, cutting-edge intelligence-gathering technology of Upstream Commerce is based on artificial intelligence, semantic analysis, data mining, and image recognition. Data from retail websites is gathered and analyzed using site-crawler and product-data extractor, analyzed by analytics engine and matching engine, with the result that the client gains actionable insight from the analysis and reporting.

Historically, retailers have relied on personal experience and manual tracking to optimize their assortment relative to their competitors. The manual approach is no longer practical in today’s intensely competitive, highly dynamic markets. "Assortment composition is far too critical a merchandising decision to leave to the non-realtime, highly variable nature of human assessment, judgment, and action," says Upstream Commerce CEO,  Amos Peleg.  The seasoned retail technology expert adds, "Assortment Intelligence transforms classic manual merchandising by giving retail owners, executives, managers and buyers actionable and timely product assortment insights."

I'd like to hear where you're at regarding Assortment Intelligence. Thanks. Gilon

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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