Retailers embrace AI to spy on rivals’ prices and remain competitive

02/03/2022 – Retail / AI / Retailers / Supermarkets / Skuuudle / Inflation / Price-matching / EPM

Retailers embrace AI to spy on rivals’ prices and remain competitive

New software developed by price intelligence company Skuuudle uses AI to allow retailers to effectively spy on the prices that their competition are charging for similar products. 


Price matching practices are becoming more exhaustive as retailers turn-up the heat on one another in order to stay ahead, as the cost of living continues to rise. 

 

In response, an ever-growing number of retailers are turning up the heat and subscribing to so-called Exhaustive Price Matching (EPM) – an innovative new service that allows retailers to compare the cost of thousands of similar products. 

 

New software developed by price intelligence company Skuuudle uses AI to allow retailers to effectively spy on the prices their competition are charging for similar products. 


Price matching on like-for-like, as well as brands


Unlike other price matching services, EPM lets retailers see the price of not just branded goods but also of like-for-like products and of the price charged per gram. 

 

Skuuudle also ensures its data is reviewed by its quality control team and says the human touch remains vital to ensure the highest levels of accuracy. 

 

The firm currently works with hundreds of leading retailers such as Asda, Primark and Lyreco, with many others signing up each month. 

 

Retailers use a variety of approaches to provide the end customer with best value, while also protecting their bottom line.


Invaluable insight in the face of rising inflation


Skuuudle generates market-leading data analytics to help retailers understand the markets they are operating in to continue to provide optimum prices for consumers – in the face of rising inflation.


A spokesperson for Skuuudle said: “Customers use price to measure everything about your business, and they decide to buy from you when they are convinced the price and service you offer gives them the greatest value.


“At a time when inflation is affecting the marketplace so much, competitor price monitoring is becoming ever more valuable to help retailers develop strategies to gain a competitive edge.”


Competitor price monitoring can be done manually, in-house by ‘data-scraping’ websites or by working with a specialist provider of e-commerce competitive intelligence. Skuuudle is one such company, with a track record of building close client relationships to help them best understand the marketplace and bring value to customers.


Skuuudle says inflation will be here for some time to come, and companies are taking an increasing interest in the benefits of Exhaustive Product Matching (EPM).


Making the connection to ensure customers the best price


“In the past, retailers had to rely on solutions that only worked for branded products using simple methods like finding identical barcodes. With Skuuudle, they can now see how much their competitors charge for very similar own-label products, or even branded products sold in different quantities,” the company’s spokesperson said.


“One example might be a competitor suddenly introducing a new size bottle of own-brand orange juice that is £1.10 for 900ml, where you’ve both always sold them in one-litre bottles previously. Where other pricing intelligence solutions would leave those items unmatched, Skuuudle can make the connection and ultimately ensure you’re giving your customers the best price per millilitre.


Valuing data quality control above all else


“We also value data quality control above all else. Although we make use of Artificial Intelligence for speed and scale, we believe employing Organic Intelligence – exceptionally talented human quality control analysts – makes the difference between ‘good enough’ and ‘outstanding’ quality. For retailers setting prices on billions in revenue for millions of customers, that quality is essential.”


Skuuudle says retailers have an unenviable ‘balancing act’ to perform when it comes to pricing: to consider the needs of the customer, their suppliers and the supply chain as well as their shareholders.

 

For supermarkets, staple products such as bananas, milk and bread – known as Key Value Items (or KVIs) – can signal to a customer the value of goods within the shop. Retailers will tread carefully before increasing the cost of these staple items, forcing the customer to pay more for their shopping, perhaps opting instead to put 2p on the price of a ready meal than on a bottle of milk.


Other inflation-tapering tactics

 

Besides this, there are other tactics that can be employed by retailers to ward off inflation without hurting the pockets of the consumer. These include:


• ‘Shrinkflation’ – Keeping the price the same but reducing quantity – for example, fewer grams of chocolate, fewer crisps in a bag etc.


• Switching and swapping promotions – A rival may have previously done BOGOF promotions, but during the downturn has changed to ‘3 for 2’ in order to save costs.


• Product design – Finding ways to reduce costs in the supply chain to strip out costs, such as investing in cheaper product labelling.


• Product mix – Taking lower-priced or lower-margin goods off shelves to drive spend upwards without directly raising prices.

 

Identifying subtle marketplace changes through data analysis can provide retailers with an edge. 

 

“Skuuudle's approach isn't just suitable for supermarkets with tens of thousands of items in stock, it even works with industrial distributors selling tens of millions of parts on their websites,” the firm said in a statement. “Skuuudle processes data at an enormous scale, with billions of data points delivered every month via EPM.

 

Indeed, name a website, and Skuuudle will inevitably be able to deliver insights spanning price, promotions, product availability and taxonomy. This is increasingly helpful during difficult economic times for all.

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