In today’s retail landscape, we spend a lot of time talking about the advantages and disadvantages of price-matching. While competing with other retailers solely on price can end up decreasing margins and limiting long term sales growth, tracking and monitoring this information is still important. With the Holiday season right around the corner, many retailers and brands are implementing price-matching strategies to track, monitor, and compete with the largest online retailers. Preparing your product data and information for the upcoming Holiday season using product mapping is crucial if you want to see accurate results on your price comparisons.
Product mapping is the practice of matching your products to your competitors’ products in order to make accurate, apples-to-apples price comparisons. This allows retailers to gain a better understanding of these products and implement data-driven interventions to improve conversions. While most price-matching software have the ability to crawl massive amounts of data to compare products and prices, there still needs to be some level of oversight by an analyst or category manager to accurately pinpoint which products merit being matched for comparisons. This process can often be incredibly time-consuming—and there is very little spare time heading into the busiest time of the year—so we’ve put together six steps to help improve your product mapping and prepare for the Holiday season.
Step 1: Remove duplicates and irrelevant items from results stream
Going through automated results and checking for duplicate model numbers is vital to making accurate price comparisons. Duplicate information can be misleading and could set you down the wrong path for future price comparisons.
Additionally, make sure that all products in a given set of results are relevant to the category you are analyzing. You don’t want to mix your rice makers and your blenders.
Step 2: Establish which attributes or features are most important
Narrowing down your search results to include only the features you’ve identified as a priority can reduce time spent on filtering large amounts of data. For example, it’s unrealistic for price crawlers to accurately match every style, material, and color options for a line of pillows, so prioritizing your top products will help to deliver more appropriate results.
Step 3: Normalize units of measurement
Clearing up any inconsistencies in product measurements can help your assortment in numerous ways. Not only will you have more accurate matches with your price comparisons, you will also improve your description content to provide shoppers with more informative, reliable information.
Step 4: Identify which private label product features matter most
Very often retailers will work directly with manufacturers to private label lines of products, making it very difficult to generate precise product matches. Tracking down non-branded product matches can be like herding cats, so be sure to identify the features that matter most. For example, if you’re selling refrigerators, choose the features that your customers care about (freezer space, ice makers, slide out shelves, etc.) and prioritize matching those products.
Step 5: Knock off the accessories
Since price matching software requires some expert oversight, it’s important to simplify the results that you receive to save time and hassle. Including accessories in price crawls can result in lots of false positives, making it difficult to correctly compare products. For example, avoid including accessories like battery chargers, protective cases, and cords when searching for consumer electronics.
Step 6: Identify possible overlooked categories
Sometimes products will be categorized in two different areas, so be sure to identify product categories that could potentially have crossover and check the results to make sure products and prices are being matched correctly.
Preparing your price-matching and product mapping strategies ahead of time can help make for a much more successful Holiday season. For more information about Pricing Intelligence and Product Mapping, including how visual matches plan a role in verifying data results, download our ebook: Pricing Intelligence 2.0.
Mihir Kittur is a Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Ugam. He oversees sales, marketing and innovation and works with leading retailers and brands with insights and analytics solutions around their category decisions to improve business performance.