Monitoring retailer prices in Russia

    Price monitoring. What it is?

    I'll start with synonyms: price monitoring, monitoring of competitors, monitoring of retailers, analysis of the recommended retail price (RRC) or the minimum retail price (MRC).
    It's all about the same thing. Performing these tasks, it is necessary to collect information about how much the product costs on other source sites.

    Who needs this and why?

    We can distinguish the main target audiences that use such programs:

    - online stores,
    - manufacturers and wholesale companies.

    Online stores are clearly interested in putting a little less price on their goods than their shop colleagues (other online stores). This is necessary so that their products are bought faster and more often than others. Here, as they say, “sorting by price” is decisive because end customers want to pay less. Therefore, it is vital for online stores to have a market price for a product.

    Wholesale companies are also interested in regulating the market. Most of them have a marketing department, one of the tasks of which is to analyze retailers' offers. That is, in essence, marketers need to look for retailers who dump, and take appropriate measures.

    Manufacturers are also interested in analyzing general market trends. For example, they are interested in a decrease or increase in average prices for the respective brands. Manufacturers monitor not only their goods, but, of course, the products of competitors.

    How is price monitoring done manually?

    If there is no automated price monitoring, then everything is done manually using Excel. Employees of the marketing department with a certain periodicity generate reports with prices of goods on source sites. This work is very boring and requires perseverance, and the results are relevant for a very short time. Therefore, department heads are willingly considering automation options in order to offload their employees and obtain better and more up-to-date data.

    price list


    Analysis of project requirements

    Before starting the next project on price monitoring, it would be nice to discuss the following points. What sites do you need to analyze prices on? If on Yandex.Market, then this is one way to solve the problem, and if on other sites, then the solution will be different.

    Yandex Market


    The first thing to mention about price monitoring in Russia is, of course, working with Yandex.Market. Here are some facts in the context of monitoring prices on the Market:

    • Yandex.Market is a database of trading offers in the current state.
    • It should be remembered that there are stores that are presented on the Market, but there are also those that are not located there. We also note that stores may not place their entire product catalog in Yandex.Market, but only part of it.
    • Yandex.Market provides affiliate and content access to its database via API. This will be discussed later.

    It is also important to find out the quantity of goods for which prices need to be analyzed. If this is an online store, then usually the quantity of goods starts from 10 thousand and reaches several tens of thousands. If we are talking about the manufacturer, then usually the number of goods reaches 500 (conditionally). It should be understood that depending on which company needs price monitoring and for how many suppliers and goods, a strategy will be formed in accordance with which the task will be solved.

    Tools for monitoring prices:

    1. Affiliate access to the Yandex.Market API for monitoring prices.

    This option is available if there is an active online store account in Yandex.Market.
    Limitations:
    - prices are available for goods that have a product card on Yandex.Market;
    - prices for goods, which are given in the form of announcements, are not copied;
    - there are restrictions on the number of requests per day (up to 20,000 products);
    - there are restrictions on the number of offers (prices) for 1 product (the first 10 prices).

    2. Content access to the Yandex.Market API The

    ability to work for a particular client using the Content API is determined by Yandex.Market managers. To get this access, you must fill out a special form. After filling it out, a response will be sent about the possibility of the client using the appropriate access. Having such access, you can receive trading offers from the Market in real time by means of corresponding API requests.
    Limitations: Not. There are limits on the number of API requests per second. But these restrictions do not affect the requirements.
    When used : when there is access to a specific API and it is enough to fetch information from Yandex.Market.

    3. Parsing the prices of freestanding sites via a link

    The meaning of this option is that a price is formed with links to product cards from which prices will be extracted.
    Limitations: you need to create an excel file manually, and this takes a lot of time.

    4. Formation of the price list.

    The simplest and in some cases the most effective way to solve the monitoring problem is to collect the articles and their prices into a two-column excel-price.
    To solve the problem in this way, it is necessary to bypass all categories on the source site, and to bypass all products and their prices in them, at the end of creating a price list.
    Limitations: development is required for each specific source site.
    Advantages: maximum accuracy.
    Disadvantages: required to process the entire source site.

    5. Parsing the prices of stand-alone sites through search

    Since there are a lot of products for analysis, and it takes a lot of time to compile a matrix of product links, you have to solve the problem through a search system on the source site. Here the scheme of work is as follows. Usually, the name or article of the product is inserted into the search query field on the source site and the search is launched. Then the results of the issue are analyzed. The first link to the product card is used to retrieve the price, which then falls into the resulting report.
    Limitations : development is required for each source site. The quality of the search depends on the lines that are sent for search to the source site, and on the quality of the search system on the source site, on which the developer has no influence.
    When used : when processing price lists from 500 products.

    Each of the described methods for solving the problem of price monitoring has its own disadvantages and advantages. I think that the approaches described above will help you solve the problems of price monitoring as efficiently as possible.

    Nikolay Kekish, Director of CatalogLoader.com

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