10 Powerful Guidelines For Choosing The Best Retail Pricing Intelligence Software

Pricing intelligence software tools are being used by retailers around the world to compete more effectively, increase sales, and grow profit margins through the use of advanced automated real-time intelligence-gathering and analytics. According to trend-followers, this is the Year Of The Pricing Intelligence Tool. Choosing the right pricing and assortment intelligence tool is one of the most important decisions a retailer will ever make. Here's a comprehensive checklist of what retailers should look for in choosing the right pricing and assortment intelligence tool for their business success:  

1. Accuracy. Choose a dynamic pricing intelligence tool that's sophisticated enough to provide the user with near 100% accuracy -- or you'll be making decisions based on poor quality data… which you can’t afford -- and which can really hurt you. As pricing decisions directly and dramatically affect sales, it’s critical that the data provided by the tool is accurate.

2. Automation. With important decisions and price adjustments now being made in real-time, 24/7, automated pricing and assortment intelligence tools provide the information needed while streamlining the actual data gathering. When retailers use a 100% automated tool, the retailer logs in, accesses his/her specific, custom-designed competitive data, and can then act on it quickly and intelligently.

3. Frequency. The best pricing and assortment intelligence tools will provide the retailer with updated data often, to enable them to make the latest – and best -- pricing decisions.

Upstream Commerce figure © showing price history

4. Coverage & Assortment. Price analysis software create value by letting retailers match prices with their competitors’ and make comparisons -- whether for 5,000 or 5,000,000 products. The best tools have powerful matching engines that automatically and accurately match up the same products appearing on different websites. How well the matching engine matches your products with your competitors' affects the information you have to work with. Getting as much of the data you need about your competitors and their products can make a big difference.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing price distribution by category

5. Flexibility. It's important to have a pricing and assortment intelligence tool that is flexible enough to provide the data retailers need the way they need it. The best price comparison software will allow the retailer to view and compare data as graphs, charts, color-coded bars, and other easy-to-read formats, the ability to add columns, filter, and create customized reports, and more.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing what retailers can do with advanced pricing and assortment intelligence: Based on blog post, Did Walmart, Best Buy & Amazon Cop Out on Special Pricing On Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

6. Usability. Technical tools, especially analytics-type tools are complicated and sophisticated on the inside -- but should be easy for retailers to use. Retailers need actionable pricing and assortment information on thousands of products. The best tool will focus on analytics to get you the data you need.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing price distribution by manufacturer/brand

7. History. Seeing how you are priced relative to your competitors, by product, category or brand/manufacturer is one thing, but having a record in front of you showing how prices change over time gives the retailer significantly more insight. You want to see the price dynamics that exist between you and your competitors, qualify and follow trends and competitive behavior, and plan and respond intelligently. If you don't track your competitors regularly, you won't have the data to build a longitudinal history.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing competitive landscape by manufacturer/brand

8. Advanced Analytics. Not only should pricing intelligence tools provide you with information about how you are priced relative to your competitors on a product-by-product basis, but should provide you with real analytics to help you determine how competitively you are pricing. For example, one of the tool's basics should have a list of products showing where you're priced in relation to your competition; another basic will be a graphical view of categories of a few hundred products, showing you how many are priced above, below, or the same as yours. The best tools allow you to see all of your categories, how priced, and can show you the whole picture in one view -- or in selected groupings. These features allow you to analyze your pricing by brand and product categories so you can better analyze and decide on your overall pricing strategy and policies.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing what retailers can do with advanced pricing and assortment intelligence: Based on blog post, Did Walmart, Best Buy & Amazon Cop Out on Special Pricing On Black Friday and Cyber Monday?   

9. Assortment Status & More. Whether a product is in stock or out of stock, discontinued, or on sale or promotion are all pieces of important information. The pricing tool you choose can dramatically affect how you price and provide information on your own product mix or product assortment.

 Upstream Commerce figure © showing price distribution by category

10: Exportability. Whether you export to Excel and perform your own analysis on the data, or you export using APIs (Application Programming Interface) on a continual basis to one of your back-end systems such as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, make sure that the tool you’re using allows you to export all the data in an easy and convenient manner.

Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:

The right pricing intelligence tool is essential to your retail business strategy. Elements on your checklist for choosing the best pricing and assortment intelligence solution must include accuracy, automation, frequency, coverage, flexibility, usability, longitudinal history, landscape, analytics, assortment status, exportability, and more.  

For The Record: "Upstream Commerce is dedicated to helping retailers around the world compete more effectively, increase sales, and grow profit margins through the use of advanced automated real-time intelligence-gathering and analytics." The Company was founded in 2010 by seasoned retail technology experts, Amos Peleg and Shai Geva on the premise that automated retail intelligence capability should simplify and streamline the highly-complicated data-gathering process so retailers can concentrate on optimizing their merchandising, marketing and profit-making efforts. 

 

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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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