There are many different reasons why e-retail teams get into price monitoring. How often they check prices usually depends on what they want to achieve or how much time they have to do it. Price monitoring can definitely take up a lot of time.

Different use cases require different frequencies, so we’ve listed the main price monitoring use cases, and for each, we’ll explain how often you should be checking prices. We will then lay out the choices we’ve made for BlueBoard’s automated monitoring.

Main price monitoring use cases

Report on the state of your distribution

It’s always useful to get a 360° view of your prices at all e-retailers. You may need to see how your products are doing, if any promos are underway, etc.

For this use case, you’re not looking for any kind of history. You just need a real-time snapshot. So, the solution is rather simple: you just need a one-time check. However, if you need to produce a report every week, then you need weekly monitoring!

Preparing your next QBR

Theoretically, quarterly business reviews (QBRs) happen every quarter. Every quarter, you meet with your customers to go over the recent results and see how you can help each other. But when the performance is not as good as everyone hoped, there can be some finger-pointing.

You have to come prepared for a discussion on margin. If you have only checked the current prices before going into the meeting, then you’re not ready to discuss margin levels for the last quarter. To back you up in negotiations, you at least need daily price points for your key products over the last 90 days.

Check scheduled promos

The problem with scheduled promos is they’re often supposed to start on a Saturday morning. If you only check the page when you’re back in the office on Monday, there’s no way to know when the promo actually went live.

If you want to know exactly when everyone started (and ended) the promo, you’ll need automated price monitoring. And the frequency should be at least every three to four hours.

Understand repricing habits

Some categories are more subject to intense repricing strategies. Most e-retailers use repricing software, which monitors the pages of competing sites and adjusts the prices to win more sales. But since everyone does this, you’ll sometimes see chains of repricing, where two e-retailers repeatedly undermine each other until one reaches their lower limit.

If you want to understand who’s following whom, you have to be on the same frequency. One daily check is not enough. You’ll only see that the prices have changed, but you’ll never know who reacted to what. In our experience, you need to check prices at least every six hours to have usable data.

Implementing dynamic pricing on your e-shop

If your brand has an e-shop, you could decide to also use dynamic pricing. That’s a strategy where you keep an eye on your e-retailers’ prices in each market and adjust your prices to stay within the same range.

As you’re not in a tooth-and-nail fight with your e-retailers, you probably don’t need to change your prices every 20 minutes. Our customers who use dynamic pricing usually go with one daily repricing.

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Enforce your MAP policy and identify who dropped the price first

Quick note: MAP policies (minimum advertised price) are only legal in some countries, like the US.

If your brand has a MAP policy with your e-retailers, then you must enforce it. If you’re like our customers, this is a daily chore. Because if one page stays below MAP, other sites will use it as an excuse to go below as well.

So, for MAP monitoring, you usually need to check prices at least every morning. Theoretically, one daily check is enough. The problem is, e-retailers will always blame each other for a new, surprise promo. If you don’t have any data, you usually have to take their word for it. But you know they can’t all be speaking the truth! So, how do you identify who dropped first?

To find that out, you’ll need to check all pages at once at frequent intervals. How frequent? It really depends on the industry. Three hours is enough for most, but in very tense markets, you may need to scrape even more frequently. We’re using the word “scraping” here because at this point, it’s unlikely that you could do it manually!

BlueBoard: out-of-the-box three-hour scraping cycle

BlueBoard chose three hours as its standard scraping cycle. This ensures that we cover most of the use cases above. For a few select markets, we’ve found that repricing was so fast that we had to get that cycle down to two hours or even one hour. This is currently a premium option for our customers.

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