How to monitor the prices of “difficult” products?
- 13 March 2020
Monitoring the prices of products with EAN codes may seem trivial. However, even if the products have unique codes, the matching process still requires special attention. What then can we do when the products don’t have EAN codes or other available manufacturer codes? How to monitor them? What challenges can we face in data validation?
In this post, we will introduce the technical aspect of price monitoring a bit, and in particular matching products depending on the information available.
Challenges of price monitoring
As we described in the post “How to start monitoring prices?“, one of the steps to start this process is the customer providing a list of products (product feed) with codes that help identify them in various sources. The most commonly used is the EAN (European Article Number) code. It’s the most important and the most sought after feature of the product when identifying it. In the vast majority of cases, one product has only one EAN.
Providing a list of products with EANs definitely positively affects the quality of data verified automatically, but even in such situation, it’s worth choosing a company that also carries out manual data validation as the second step. Why? It may happen that the EAN from the list is assigned to a different product than it should be, or the code is incorrect, even though the offer is okay. A common situation is also the lack of codes provided on the websites of individual online stores.
Therefore, for the client to receive the highest quality data, the verification by a qualified Quality Assurance team is particularly important. It is also necessary when introducing a price automation tool – Dynamic Pricing, based on data from the monitoring platform. Then precision is particularly important, because sometimes a few pennies of a difference in price can determine the consumer’s purchasing decision and vice versa – you don’t want to miss the opportunity to raise the margin when there are large price differences between you and more expensive competitors.
If you care about quality, when choosing a price monitoring tool, be sure to check whether the company actually verifies the data collected by the algorithms.
I want to monitor products without EAN codes… What’s next?
Another distinguishing feature of the product is the unique manufacturer’s code other than EAN – most brands give such identification to their goods. These codes, along with the brand’s name (there are duplicate codes for completely different companies), also help in matching offers with products.
If an individual code is not available, we can also use the unique product name, eg “WOMS BOOTS – High heels”, “Braun J500 black juicer”. As you can see in the second example, the product code can also be included in the name, which makes identification easier. Sometimes, however, the name given in the product feed is very generic, e.g. Nike Air Max shoes. Then we have to make use of other factors.
Another case is products that don’t have other differentiating features than the name, and they are not identical. A good example is the FMCG industry, where customers monitor e.g. vegetables or fruits. It requires almost completely manual matching, but it’s possible to do. All depends on the client’s monitoring needs and budget.
The method of matching offers depends on many factors that enable product identification, such as: EAN code, manufacturer’s code, name, color and others, as well as the sources from which the data is collected. On this basis, we are able to optimize the quality of double-verified data, of course, taking into account the client’s budget. If you have experience with price monitoring and you were not satisfied with the quality – contact us! Our consultant will be happy to verify your product feed and tell you how we can help you!