Retail Price Wars: Dominate with Price Tracking

Posted by Philip Huthwaite on June 13, 2023
Philip Huthwaite
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In earlier Blog posts we have described what is competitor price tracking, how BlackCurve tracks competitor prices, and also covered different competitor pricing techniques. In today’s Blog post, we’re focusing specifically on how eCommerce companies can use price tracking tools to dominate their respective marketplaces as shown by winning market share.


How Price Tracking Can Help Your Retail Business

Price Tracking can help improve search visibility

Price tracking tools such as BlackCurve, are typically utilised to find the prices of products that your competitors are selling that you’re also selling. This is so that the retailer can benchmark their own prices against the market, and determine whether a price change is required should a different market position be desired.

The smart retailers out there, also use price tracking tools to monitor their own product visibility too when an end consumer searches for a particular product. It is easy for search visibility to get lost in the myriad of Google errors that pop-up inside of your Google Merchant Centre, so price tracking tools such as BlackCurve flag to you where you’re not visible when someone searches for your product, and highlight if there are any data issues.

Fundamentally, retailers can be doing whatever they want with their prices, but if your products are not coming up in the various search engines, such as Google Shopping, it doesn't matter, as the consumer cannot buy from you.

Reasons that your products are not being displayed on search engines include, not having the correct GTINs, missing GTINs completely, and missing brand information. If these are not correct, Google won't be able to categorise you correctly. If Google can't categorise your product correctly, then when somebody searches for your product it simply won’t be surfaced as a result.


Price Tracking can help improve conversion

I am assuming now that you have resolved any visibility issues with your products in Google Search. Price Tracking Tools can now support you with improving conversion. For the purpose of this blog post, we’re defining conversion as a user clicking from Google Search and landing on your own website.

A significant number of shoppers are price sensitive, especially in today’s cost of living crisis. Therefore the price point communicated will play an important role in whether you succeed in getting the conversion.

If you are the most expensive price for a branded product, it is highly unlikely you will convert for that product. There are times when you can be the most expensive, such as in times of product scarcity or where you offer a significantly better warranty or returns policy than the competition, but by in large, consumers will be directed more toward the lower-priced offerings. Therefore, price tracking can first help you stop being too expensive by flagging products where your price is the highest in the market, with a view to encourage you to reduce the price so that your conversion improves.

At the very least, we encourage retailers to line up their prices with the benchmark price (market average price). Google already actively shares this information with retailers, and our extensive price tests indicate that this is the price point that the Google algorithm considers, to determine your search relevancy and award your search position ranking. The logic being by Google in simple terms, that if your price point is competitive with others, end consumers will more likely to buy from you, therefore it is a better search result. If you’re then it the mix from a price point perspective, you are increasing your chances of getting the click-through.


Price Tracking can help you identify Which products are market-driven

Price tracking tools, such as BlackCurve, will monitor the market frequency of price changes i.e. a count of how often competitor(s) change the price of a product. This is a fantastic data point, as it tells us which products have their prices driven by the market i.e. where you need to be competitive on price. If competitors are changing the price for a product a large volume of times relative to other products, it is highly likely that you must have a comparable or cheaper price than your competitors to dominate sales on that product. 

How to identify competitor driven products

You can then also identify products where competitors are not changing price frequently, and then seek to increase the price of these products, as it is statistically likely that the market price is not a factor in the sale of that product. You will then likely achieve a higher margin on the sale of each of these products.


Price Tracking can help support purchasing decisions

Sometimes price decisions are made without the purchasing teams, and sometimes purchasing teams do not even utilise price tracking tools in their own purchasing decisions. The retailers dominating, ensure their purchasing teams are fully utilising price tracking tools. 

Price Tracking & Purchasing Decisions

Rather than considering the price points of competitors specifically, purchasers focus mostly on the product overlaps with competitors and can perhaps adopt a strategy of seeking to spot gaps in the product inventory of competitors and then purchase differently or negotiate exclusivity for certain product lines. Thus putting the retailer more in control of the price decision process, that can seek to avoid competitor price benchmarking.

Alternatively, they may wish to use the product overlap information to purchase the next best alternative cheaper, more expensive product, or own brand comparable product, but still make sure there is a significant enough product overlap. This works exceptionally well when the strategy of the pricing team is to undercut the prices of competitors on the overlaps. Once the consumer has converted into your ecosystem (e.g. website or join your mailing list), the dominant retailer cross-sells or upsells to other products. Getting the user into your eco-system, reduces the chance of them going elsewhere.


Price Tracking can improve digital advertising performance

The dominating retailers use pricing tracking tools, such as BlackCurve, that can consider their marketing metrics. Here key data points such as advertising costs, click-through rates, and impression share can be lined up alongside competitor price positions.

It is then possible to identify areas where your price point is hampering your digital marketing performance and focus your price decision-making on the areas that will make the greatest impact.

Do you have a very low impression share? Can you test if lowering the price would improve this?

Do you have a high advertising cost? Can you reduce the price to see if you can reduce your advertising cost?

Do you have a high click-through rate? Can you increase the price and still maintain that conversion?


Price Tracking tools help you to say goodbye to pricing guesswork

Gut feel and price tracking is still a common trait. We have a bias in our own daily actions and often focus our decision-making naturally on the products we know more about or the top sellers.

Price Tracking tools, such as BlackCurve, include actionable insights, aiming to challenge you to ensure you are focusing your price decision-making on the areas that will drive the greatest benefit for your business. It provides a repeatable daily framework, highlighting specific pricing opportunities, and ranking the changes for the areas that will drive the best return for you in terms of margin, revenue, or conversion dependent on your current price point for that product.


Use Smart Competitive Tracking to Outperform Competitors

It is all too easy to get stuck into the daily grind of price tracking and making counter price decisions, without considering the effectiveness of these price decisions. The leading retailers use price tracking tools such as BlackCurve, to track their progress.

How well has product visibility improved over time?

How well has price competitiveness and conversion improved over time?

If visibility and conversion are growing over time, you making the right pricing decisions. If this is not improving, you are simply not making the right decisions, and are being dragged along by the other dominant players. Remember, you want to be the dominant retailer, so you have to focus on improving visibility and conversion to win.

Here is a teaser of the upcoming BlackCurve dashboard supporting you with tracking your Google Shopping Optimisation:



Why Price Tracking is Essential for Your Business

Price tracking is essential for retail domination. If you don't have price tracking tools such as BlackCurve in place, you're going to fail at the first stage, with consumers not even being able to find you on Google Search for all of your products. If consumers cannot find you, they're not going to buy from you.

The second piece of the jigsaw that price tracking tools enable you to do is make sure that consumers click on you. So price tracking tools such as Black Curve help you make sure you've got the right price point to get that click in order to have, again, the chance for consumers to add that product to the checkout and then buy.

It’s a daily two-step process.

  1. Get visibility
  2. Increase chances of conversion.

Same again tomorrow.

  1. Get visibility.
  2. Increase chances of conversion.

In parallel, the dominant players track the improvement over time of this visibility and conversion in order to know you’re making the right pricing decisions.

Price tracking tools such as BlackCurve, give you daily actions, daily homework if you will to strive for 100% product visibility in Search for all your products, and ensure you’re price competitive where it matters.



There is also an accompanying Podcast to this blog post. A full transcript available here:


Listen to the podcast on Spotify.

Listen to the podcast on Apple.



How often should I be tracking my competitors' prices?      

If you’re selling branded goods that have strong availability from multiple competitors, you should be price tracking at least once a day. BlackCurve as standard monitors prices three times per day to ensure you’re always up to date. 24 hours in retail is a long time, and selling too cheaply or too expensive for even a short period of time can cost you in terms of either lost margin opportunity or loss of revenue completely.


Can price tracking be used to monitor the prices of online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay?

Yes. Price tracking tools such as BlackCurve can monitor competitor prices not just from a competitor website, but also from marketplaces that aggregate sellers, such as Amazon or eBay.


How can I find the best price tracking software for my business?

Price tracking tools such as BlackCurve can be found online or via app stores such as Shopify or BigCommerce

Topics: Price Tracking

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