Best Practice in Choosing a Retail and Pricing Intelligence Provider for Retailers and Brands

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Competitive intelligence business Cogenta advises how to choose the right business intelligence provider for best return on investment and long-term success.

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Cogenta is UK's leading retail and pricing intelligence provider

New retail and pricing intelligence providers have entered the market in the recent years. Choosing the right vendor for your business is crucial in aim for capitalising on the benefits of the relationship to a retailer or a brand. Cogenta has been a pioneer in providing high quality competitive intelligence and in this document has refined the key aspects a business must consider before entering into a business relationship with a new vendor.

Define your primary objective

The service you require may different depending on the primary business objectives: a retailer may want to manage a day-to-day pricing decisions, while a manufacturer may be looking at product promotion planning instead. The core data requirements are likely to be the same but access to certain data points, levels of history and the way analysis is used will be different. Deciding on the primary driver for the service will help to identify the type of service you need.

Who will use the analysis?

Will the analysis be used by a central pricing team, individual buyers, marketing or at board level to assess performance? The answer may be all of the above but the initial requirement is likely to be addressing a challenge that one team has above the others. To drive the quickest return on investment it helps to clearly identify the primary gain for the business in using the service.

How will the analysis be used?

Pay particular attention to how the appointed individual or team will be using the end service. The service you use needs to meet the individual requirements of your business rather than trying to fit around an inflexible approach to delivering analysis. Here are two examples:

1.    Buyers in a retail trading team have an established process in decision making. Providing them with the data analysis in a format that will support this process and aid in quick and easy decision making will be critical to the success of the project. Otherwise the utilisation of the analysis and potential return on investment will be lower;
2.    On the other hand, for a manufacturer’s marketing team the immediacy of the decision is not as relevant but detailed and accurate history of price changes is. Therefore the manufacturer must establish if the vendor will be able data analysis to the required standard.
Most vendors facilitate access to your analysis through a portal or software application. The portal or software a service (SaaS) approach has the benefit of being accessible from any device connected to the internet at any location. Your business may have unique requirements in which case the ability to develop the functionality of the application might also be an important consideration.

Also take into account any ad-hoc requests and reporting requirements you may have and how many of these can be handled from within the portal or application? The ability to download data and access reports, specific to your business should be also made available.

How much data can be managed?

If the process in new to the business it is often easier to implement the change by starting to track a small, manageable number of products and competitors. This enables costs to be kept low and the results to be assessed before extending the scope of the service as well as establishing how much human resource will be needed to manage the resulting activity. Start with significant, the most price sensitive products against key competitors in order to start making quick improvements and prove the return on investment for the service.

Managing data quality

Getting data quality right is the most important aspect of the process. If data is 90% accurate that means 1 in 10 prices could be incorrect. Very high data accuracy levels are achievable and this is facilitated by a partnership between you and the vendor. Your chosen vendor needs to commit to reaching much higher data quality standards. Agreeing on the product data you can provide to help find and match your competitor’s products is important so the vendor knows what they will have to work with. If providing product data is difficult the vendor should be able to create a feed using your site.

Keeping up-to-date

Carefully consider the frequency at which your data needs to be refreshed. This may range from part-day, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc. The decision is often based on the speed at which your industry sector moves and the use of data itself. Identify when your business needs to make pricing decisions and align the data refreshes to your key users’ needs.

Lastly, when you need additional support that requires human resources can your preferred vendor provide this? The long term success of the relationship will depend on whether you receive a broad level of support you require to manage your competitive intelligence processes.

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Notes to editors:

Cogenta is the pioneer and the market leader in providing retail and pricing intelligence to UK's top trusted high street and online retailers. Its competitive intelligence service (NetPrice) equips UK's operating retailers with the business intelligence to help them optimise stock and pricing decisions and maximise profits every day.

Cogenta providers unrivalled level of data accuracy and tracks price, stock, delivery information and promotional activity surrounding retail products in the following categories:

  • FMCG;
  • Fashion;
  • Health and Beauty;
  • Electronics and white goods;
  • Books, DVDs and Blu-ray, Music;
  • Gadgets and Gaming;
  • Nursery, Toys and Parenting;
  • DIY, Home and Garden;
  • Sports Clothing and Equipment.

 
Cogenta is also the publisher of consumer shopping and price comparison applications and website helping consumer make the best pricing decisions. Cogenta also tracks consumer shopping behaviour and enables brands and retailers to communicate and target new audiences via mobile.

For more information, go to: http://www.cogenta.com or http://www.twitter.com/cogenta

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Dainora Dirmeikyte

Adrian Hobbs
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