Barrie Tynemouth - Online Price Tracking and Price Wars
Dr Barrie Tynemouth
Online Price Monitoring
Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Spotted alive and well
eCommerce Expo –
The 4 P’s of
How do you
at the right
Thank You Questions?
Hello my name is Barrie Tynemouth and I am the Principal Pricing Advisor for Price Trakker and this presentation, is possibly less technically challenging than most of the talks today and is about the commercial and marketing benefits of using an online Price Tracking or Monitoring service, such as ours funnily enough
Apologies if I am a little off piste with this talk but my background is pricing not SEO – but we will certainly touch on SEO during the talk
I am here today to talk about how what happens when retailers have applied all of those wonderful SEO algorithms and techniques we have heard about over the last 2 days and got all of those new eyes to their site how can they maximise the profit from this new traffic – otherwise why do it!
If possible I will take questions at the end – otherwise I will probably forget where I am and end up repeating myself and end up never finishing.
Having said all that we are going to go a lot further of piste to look to history for a little lesson….
Nearly 154 years ago October 25, 1854 the Crimean War is in Full swing
Lord Raglan is in overall command of British Forces in the and the scene is the Battle of Balaclava, under him amongst others were the Heavy and the Light Brigade.
Raglan is surveying the battlefield from the top of a hill which is partially covered in gun smoke and the fog of war.
He is happy that the Heavy Brigade have managed to scatter some heavy Russian artillery and forced them into a scrambled retreat, however he fears that the retreating Russian troops would regroup and then use the guns against the British later in the campaign. So he wanted these guns captured.
So he sent a messenger on horseback with an verbal order across to Lord Cardigan who was in charge of the Light Brigade , no WhatsApp or FB messaging with charge on horseback emoticons or more appropriately even Directions on Google Maps in this case to help,
Cardigan had been watching the battle with envy, and as it was with British Officer class at the time he was unhappy that the Heavy Brigade were getting all of the glory.
Anyway when the message he received was …
“Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate.
Unfortunately after the messenger had delivered this message Cardigan asked which guns the message referred to, the messenger is said to have indicated with a wide sweep of his arm “Over there M’Lud “( swing arm) which unfortunately Cardigan took to be the mass of heavily fortified Russian guns dug in at the end of the valley, around a mile away, rather than the obscured valley with the disarray of retreating Russian artillery which was the correct target.
Cardigan took a massive gulp then ….
What happened next was one of the most the infamous events in British Army history the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Facing artillery and musket fire on three sides, British cavalrymen were slaughtered in droves as they galloped headlong down the so-called “valley of death.”
Or for the francophiles in the audience as one French General put it « C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c'est de la folie »
Ok Barrie thanks for the history lesson we didn’t need !
what’s the Charge of the Light Brigade got to do with the 21st Century SEO and Pricing,
Is anyone here responsible for setting the pricing on their company’s retail website, and have had a senior manager come to say something like
“In order to drive revenues up….we are going to do some strategic price increases over here ( Wide sweep of arm)
or we are going to do drive market share by some strategic price decreases over here ( Wide sweep of arm)
Hopefully, it won’t end like the light the poor Light Brigade or the image on the slide …
but you could have find you have some pretty unhappy senior management if these so called strategic price moves don’t yield the results that they expected
– having charged into the wrong valley possibly
When tendering for work recently we noted that our prospective customer was about to put a certain pair of trainers on their website on offer at 20% below their current online price.
The test scan on the market we presented to them, showed that even before the offer price they were already selling the product significantly below their main competitors in the market – so did the really need to discount that deeply when they were already the cheapest in the market – so perhaps we helped a customer who was potentially getting ready to charge into the wrong (pricing) valley…
For today’s pricing war I am going to focus mainly on Google Shopping, given the increased importance of this market to many retailers, still fiercely fought over by retailers but hopefully a little less bloody.
Why Google Shopping ?
2018 Benchmarks Report from SiDECAR
Total revenue within the channel increased 64% from 2016. Overall impressions grew by nearly 80% year over year. Mobile’s share of revenue increased 19% and accounted for 36% of total revenue in 2017. The cross-device conversion path of desktop to mobile rose 259% year over year in 2017
One customer reporting 70%-80% of their on-line revenues derived through Google shopping
SO WHY PRICE TRACK?
Retail customers are well served by Amazon and Google Shopping and many other price comparison sites as they can see all of the offers on the products they are looking for and search for the best deal– but only one at a time as we have already seen.
But you are a Category director and you are responsible for 5,000, 15,000 25,000 more products in your assortment how can you see how you stack up against the competition ?
There are a number of web scraping companies – at a number of price points
What we do at Price Trakker we aim to provide a service to help you plan your pricing campaigns… rather than leave you in the same position as that of the Light Brigade and let you charge into the wrong valley
We can offer clients an online dashboard or an Excel based dashboard with daily, weekly or if the client must monthly updates for as many products as they want to monitor in an open marketplace such as Google shopping or a closed system where we can monitor a number of direct competitors websites.
But sticking with Google shopping…a scrape might be for several thousand products – so a simple overview is first
Or our battle plan…or bits of our Excel based dashboard a summary in this case
Now our client can see … in glorious primary colours
where they are the lowest in the market Coloured in green around 30% – to show there are opportunities for you potentially to raise your prices and make more money (if the sales don’t fall off too much)
Using simple arithmetic a company with a turnover of £10 million making a half percent improvement in its pricing is fifty thousand pounds straight to the bottom line !
It also shows where they are highest around 15% in the market Red for where you potentially need a price cut to be implemented if sales are bad and sales figures watched.
In pricing terms behaviourally the consumer tends to shy away from the extremes – the best selling wines in many restaurants are the second cheapest and the second most expensive.
Obviously In the Mix needs to be looked at a bit closer – where you market position isn’t very clear.
Not every retailer aims to be the lowest in every product or every category or brand – but this gives you an easy overview of where you stand very quickly.
We have the flexibility to ignore in bulk eBay or Amazon sellers as well as out and out discounters, a client can just chose specific competitors they want to beat or match.
When we started work with this retailer they said their aim was to be the cheapest in the market across their product range
– and were quite surprised by the results of our early scans, as you can see in many cases they were achieving that but for one brand that was clearly not the case.,
for the majority of the “Bathroom to Love” items they are the highest in the market – definitely not the right valley to charge into – but potentially a buyer to send on a mission down a valley!
This retailer also had a great TrustPilot rating the potential issue here is what people are possibly doing are using their site to get technical info on products, incurring pay per click costs to Google Shopping – but having done that they make their purchase elsewhere from a cheaper retailer with a less well rated or informative site . Pain (ie PPC cost) with no gain ( Sale) for our retailer ….
Or perhaps you are the sub category manager for Plasterboards
So in here we seem to be cheapest in the market – time to check sales there , can we put our price up not impact and make more profit ?
Now that you know where you stand in the whole market place – which particular competitor to take on do you take on….
Following our rather military theme – which competitor should I take on and where
“It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles” Sun Tzu – The Art of War
Again Green shows that Sun Tzu is higher for most of the Aqualisa products, so we have filtered in on Competitor and Brand – so potentially we can tweak our pricing up if they are a retailer of equal standing – so attack up the green valley not the red.
And those red- products need to be checked for special offers or finger trouble
We can go down to the level the consumer sees also similar to the Google shopping page.
Finally at the finest level we see what a consumer would see on a price comparison site or on Google Shopping
With a price tracking service you can see the price history of the product being tracked, this could be any product
So we can see who is leading the market in terms of price and who is following,
you can see a number of price moves by the seller represented by the green line since May and then followed by the sellers represented by the red and black lines.
The sellers represented by light blue line don’t seem to know what’s going on in the market ( or are very sure of their pricing strategy – looking where everyone has ended up!)
or are they ambling into the wrong valley as they haven’t got a clue about the commercial landscape they are fighting in ,
Pricing is only one part of your sales strategy and should never be looked at alone as I have mentioned throughout the talk
So let’s try and put all of this into the context of the general marketing mix
One of the traditional views of the marketing for the marketeers here mix is the 4 Ps,,,,of Position, Packaging Price & Promotion
\so how can I leverage my talk into this
Into the wrong valley
Starting a the top “Position” we have seen how a price tracking system will give you your current pricing position in a given market at whatever level granularity you need to look
Price isn’t the only position you need to consider, including your company’s own position Harrods is going to have a different market position to Sports Direct
– one company we worked with didn’t want to start a price war by constantly undercutting a competitor but just wanted to match their closest competitor ‘s prices and sell on reputation and obviously their Trust Pilot rating.
Don’t just use price on its own you need to cross reference with your sales report, perhaps if your sales volume is good, maybe people are buying because of your brand/reputation afford to charge a premium – however you can always see how price sensitive a market is.
Price is only one dimension – if you can’t compete purely on price check what about packaging
Move the goals ; nobody said the game had to be fair, or played on a level playing field
trainers with sports bags. Perfume with free testers Free Returns 12 month Guarantee
Other options Clear out the stock room
When you have done the appropriate analysis make the appropriate price changes
– don’t like the client at the beginning further reduce when you are already lowest.
These changes can be done algorithmically and then uploaded to your ecommerce platform such as Magento or Shopify
Now that our weapons are primed….Get ready to charge at the right target in the right valley with the right weapons
When we are ready to make these changes make sure our Google Shopping List, our Ad words and our SEO are all promoting the products we are most competitive on and are all acting in harmony with the company’s marketing and underlying Price Strategy and charge into the right valley.
Jumping a few centuries into the future….Quotes Luke Skywalker in Star Wars we’ve moved from valley’s to canyons…
This is where we come full circle and get into the virtuous virtual online selling – to make sure that we are all acting in synch – that we are promoting products where we cheapest, not promote all products (wave of arm) and we can deliver and when we do that.
So we have to keep going around this circle to it’s not just one off it is daily, or bi weekly or weekly at the worst.
But we don’t go around this circle and stop we keep going around and around to make sure we are al in harmony.