• July 5th, 2017
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Back To School Week 1

We have been price monitoring 24 “Must Have” products for any parent sending their teenager back to school in the Fall (See the original post here: (https://www.frigginyeah.com/2017/06/30/back-to-school-shopping-with-price-monitoring-sorry-parents/). We have just completed our first week of this price tracking and these are the things we have observed and concluded so far.

Fun Observations (at least for me!):

  • Target is the most price consistent retailer. So consistent the pricing has been completely flat for the past week of monitoring. This may be due in large part because Target is not a marketplace (a retailer that allows 3rd party sales) site like Amazon or Walmart. As…
  • …OfficeDepot, also another retailer site, was almost as equally as flat across the monitoring period. That was true until they increased the price for the SanDisk 32GB Flash Drive (SDCZ60-032G-AFFP) from $10.99 to $29.99. Aside from that price change every other product is flat.
  • BIC White-Out Correction (WOMTP21)
    • Is the most price fluid product we’ve price tracked so far with daily price changes on Walmart.com.
    • I believe this is a product both Amazon and Walmart monitor each other’s websites for. 6/28 – 7/31 Amazon and OfficeDepot largely were inline with each other at $6.67 and $6.69 respectively. Walmart ranged as high as $10.30 and as low as $7.43 during that same period. But on 7/4 Walmart dropped their price from $7.43 to $5.42 and on that same day Amazon dropped from $6.67 to $5.42. Then from there on 7/5 Walmart moved its price even further down to $4.88 and Amazon has remained (at least as of this post) at $5.42. Because we are only monitoring once a day I do not have the data to conclusively say Amazon was responding to Walmart’s price drop. What I can say is that I can make that assumption fairly easily. It will be interesting to see if Walmart holds this price if Amazon might lower their pricing to match.
  • There also is a really interesting trend of marketplace sellers on Amazon and Walmart who charge prices that show things are just broken at some level. The BIC product above for example has one Seller “The Mega Deals” charging $347.32 for a product that Amazon is fulfilling for $5.42 — but hey they have free shipping!
  • If you wanted to take the time and Value Shop across all of these retailers then that is still your best option for buying everything you need. However if you don’t want to spend the time then Target is your best bet for still getting a fair deal and saving a couple of buckets from Walmart or Amazon. Though there are a couple of things to consider when making that statement.
    • First, I am assuming you have to have the exact products you are shoping for (brand/product) – if you are willing to substitute for like brands or like products then this statement doesn’t hold.
    • Second, It doesn’t account for secondary factors or soft factors like shopping experience and ease of checkout.
  • I did not think going into this that OfficeDeopt would be so much higher than the other 3 retailers. Admittedly this is a small sample set but it is still surprising to me. They are routinely the highest priced retailer for a product with only one instance being the cheapest.

Its been fun so far looking at the daily results of our automated web scraping routines. There have been a few surprises and a few assumptions that are holding – but this is just the first week in a 9-week project price tracking school supplies, so a lot more to follow!