It's no secret that e-commerce is one of the most competitive markets. There are an estimated 26.5 million online stores -- and more launch daily.
This competition has led to online prices being more dynamic than ever. Even traditionally statically priced products like tickets fluctuate often.
In fact, over 90% of customers now describe themselves as "value-conscious" and prioritise price over other considerations before purchasing.
Those who stay up-to-date with their pricing strategy will benefit in such a changeable landscape.
As a product manager, making informed pricing decisions can make or break the success of a product launch and future customer retention. However, keeping up with thousands of products and daily price changes on competitors' sites can be challenging.
Infamously, clothing giant Abercrombie and Fitch refused to reduce their online prices in 2008, despite many competitors doing so. This led to consumers abandoning the brand for cheaper goods, resulting in a 68% drop in earnings over the year.
A constant and reliable stream of information is needed to succeed, or a brand is at risk of falling behind competitors who offer better deals.
Many companies have now introduced in-house price-tracking software or rely on outsourced options such as Pricer24 or Dealvo.
These price-tracking software require a proxy solution to work. When engaging in data collection, there are frequent and high-volume access requests from the same IP address.
This can lead to that IP being banned or blocked by the target website and leaving your software out of action.
A proxy solution is vital, but not all proxy solutions are created equal. A poor-quality one can lead to inaccurate, out-of-date and non-existent data streams.
Ultimately, this can cause your e-commerce brand to fall behind as customers look for a better deal.
It goes without saying, but the first thing to consider is reliability.
Proxy solutions need maintenance and constant attention to work. Without this in place, a proxy server's performance and security may be affected. Likewise, IP blocking on the proxies is still possible, so you need the solution to "self-heal" without manually cycling IPs.
If there is downtime, you could be short of crucial pricing data when you most need it.
What if one of your closest competitors has a flash sale?
Or a launch of a new line of products?
What about a sudden shift in market trends that affect your sector?
The list of possible pricing shifts goes on, and failing to adapt quickly could lose even your most loyal customers.
For example, in the early 2010s, Jet.com competed with Amazon by offering dynamically priced products, where prices would decrease as more items were added to the shopping cart.
However, Jet.com struggled to keep up with Amazon's more sophisticated and data-driven dynamic pricing strategy, eventually leading to its eventual acquisition by Walmart.
A good proxy solution is key to avoiding problems like this. Look for ones with a solid track record, 24/7 support, and self-healing capabilities.
The internet is now a constantly changing place, and this includes prices. The introduction of algorithms has led to prices changing by the second. They can even vary depending on the buyers' browsing habits.
Having up-to-date information is vital for staying ahead. 81% of online shoppers say they compare prices before buying, so even a minor discount from your competitor could result in you losing the sale.
The king of e-commerce, Amazon, has mastered dynamic pricing, thanks to the minute-by-minute speed at which they can adapt to competitors' pricing changes.
A proper enterprise proxy solution should let you scrape at speed so you always stay up-to-date with even the most minor changes.
A recent study showed over 50% of e-commerce transactions happen overseas. E-commerce is becoming a global operation, and customers now expect prices that are relevant to them.
However, global e-commerce operations often face the challenge of variable pricing expectations and promotions across different regions.
For example, a product might be priced differently in the United States when compared to Japan due to factors like demand, local competition, economic conditions, currency value, and even supply chain issues.
For example, Listerine mouthwash is $4.37 on average in Hong Kong but over $7 in France.
This means that your proxy solution should have servers located worldwide, enabling you to view, monitor, and analyse geo-specific pricing and promotions.
This is crucial for setting competitive prices and tailoring marketing strategies to various markets and gives your organisation the data needed to scale internationally.
A reliable proxy server solution helps ensure e-commerce stores' pricing remains competitive and has an edge over the market.
It's vital to choose a solution that can handle a large amount of online data and reliably bypass IP restrictions and self-heal.
Global stores will also massively benefit from an international system that allows for real-time insights into global pricing changes.
At Trusted Proxies, we have servers in over 80 different countries, self-healing capabilities, and a proven track record.