• August 1st, 2017
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Back to School Monitoring Week 7

We are still at it and in our 7th week of price monitoring back to school supplies there continues to be more interesting things that are coming to light. Using our PricingIQ product we are price tracking 24 must have back to school products products across Amazon, Walmart, Office Depot, and Target. (See the full product list here: https://www.frigginyeah.com/2017/06/30/back-to-school-shopping-with-price-monitoring-sorry-parents/)

Retailers reselling cheaper on Marketplaces

Oddly – Office Depot sells some products cheaper through the Amazon Marketplace than they do on their own website. Our price tracking shows several products that have cheaper daily pricing anywhere from 2%-8% sold by Office Depot on Amazon. I am not sure why this happens – but have a few theories that I want to vet before sharing.

Bad Product Pricing Data

Even more Odd – Some Marketplace sellers just have horrible data loaded for products they are hawking.

I see this as primarily an Amazon problem. The Mega Deals (https://www.amazon.com/s?me=AY2ANYVC1YIBT&merchant=AY2ANYVC1YIBT&qid=1501010590) seems to be one of the worst offenders based on the data we are extracting. I am not sure what measures Amazon has in place, if any, to protect a reseller against themselves – but I do believe (anecdotally) that Walmart does a better job at policing this.

Price Tracking

We continue to see what we believe is price tracking and price matching between the marketplaces (Amazon and Walmart) across several products. Though in one case we saw Target and Office Depot get into the action, still not directly price competitive mind you, after big price drops on Amazon and Walmart. Texas Instrument’s graphing calculator (TI-84) is a perfect example of what might fall under price matching and price tracking as well as maybe a Brand just reducing its minimum advertised price policy.

Bad Website | Unavailable Products?

Walmart seems the biggest offender here where products are listed on its list page, or as a suggested product in a twister but when you click on that product it is not available. This is not a one-off problem as Walmart will, and has been, return this page for Dixon’s Ticonderoga 30PK of pencils for two months (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ticonderoga-Pre-Sharpened-Pencil-HB-2-Yellow-Barrel-30-Pack), it does not work not matter how hard you try yet its prominently displayed on the site and has actually had price movements from $5.97 to $5.77 over the past two months. I guess if all else fails its always available from The Mega Deals on Amazon for $647!

 

The Bad Website functionality and Bad Data are two challenges that make our lives difficult from a product perspective and for our customers as data consumer. The first reaction is the product is broke and we pull our hair trying to figure out what is going on only to see that the old proverb “Junk in / Junk out” still remains true.

We have another 30 days left running this little experiment and we are hoping to learn more. So far we have taken several points we have identified and used those to improve our product from a consumer of data angle opposed to a provider of data – its a win/win so I am hoping for a lot more over this last bit before we move on to our next data run.