Keeping An Eye On Bouncing Prices Online

Written by: John Landers

The regularity of price changes makes it challenging for shoppers to monitor plummeting or leaping prices and respond on short notice. In the past, retailers would send their employees to check on competitors’ special sales and pricing and slowly make their own price adjustments.

Now, sophisticated software makes it possible to obtain accurate data in nearly real-time. Retailers frequently change prices with precision and speed.  Some retailers may adjust prices several times in a 24-hour period

The New York Times commissioned the product tracking firm Dynamite Data to monitor the prices of three online retailers –Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.com. The firm tracked prices starting the week prior to Thanksgiving through the following Tuesday.

The results of the study revealed that each retailer closely monitored its competitors’ prices and undercut product prices by as little as 2 cents—forcing competitors to run out of stock.

Google versus Amazon

Many consumers begin their product search using Google or Amazon.com. These two companies have pulled out all the stops in their efforts to become the number one destination for consumers. Amazon’s primary business centers on retailing. Increasingly, more shoppers use the site as a shopping search engine because of the site’s tracking packages and other tools available to online shoppers.

Google Shopping, formally known as Froogle and Google Product Search, offers consumers a comparison-shopping service. Advertisers pay a fee to have their products listed. Google believes paid listing ensures a line of high-quality up-to-date products for shoppers.

Four years ago, about 25% of online shoppers begin with a search engine such as Google and 18% started with Amazon based on a study by Forrester Research. In 2011, nearly 33% of consumers started with Amazon. The percentage of consumers who began research for online purchases with a search engine declined to 13%.

Digital Folio

This application helps shoppers obtain real-time price updates. It evaluates prices across several major retailers. Users can pin products and monitor price changes. Digital Folio also records the 30-day price history on electronic products. When you check Amazon prices in the Digital Folio sidebar, you receive live comparison pricing for similar products.

Shoppers can monitor multiple retailers for the lowest price and determine if the price may go lower.

Hukkster

Visit high-quality online stores, including Saks, Nordstrom, Macy, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s, view specific products and add them to your list with Hukkster. You can share your list, receive email updates when the item goes on sale, and buy anytime you’re ready.  The Hukkster software not only combs through every site and provide alerts but also includes promotions and coupons.

Comparison Shopping Engines

Every quarter, CPS Strategy analyzes data from more than 4 million clicks and $8million in revenue to determine the top ranked comparison shopping engines. The criteria for making the list area: traffic, revenue, conversion rate, return on spend, average cost-per-click, quality of merchant tools, and merchant response ratings.

This is the same data that companies use to customize their marketing budgets and grow sales. The five sites where consumers can find some of the best deals on products:

  1. Google Shopping
  2. Nextag
  3. Pricegrabber
  4. Shopping.com
  5. Amazon Product Ads

Other sites rounding out this list are Shopzilla, Pronto, Become.com, Bing, and TheFind


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Keeping An Eye On Bouncing Prices Online

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