As an online or brick and mortar retailer, you're constantly on the lookout for how to beat out your competitors. Sometimes this means lowering the pricing of a certain product, but other times it means boosting the perceived value of said product.
Regardless of your goals, price monitoring comes into play. The thing is, you're not going to want to get into a race to the bottom with companies like Walmart and Amazon. It's not often you'll win, and it's not going to help out anyone, including the customer/economy.
Therefore, price optimization comes into play, where you look at real-time pricing strategies from competitors and develop a sometimes manual (and sometimes automated) strategy for pricing that's going to boost sales and make your customers happy.
Since pricing changes so rapidly, and the market is the most competitive it's ever been, all businesses are posed with the challenge of keeping up with the volatility.
I've looked at a few online services that measure competitor activity, but none of them seem to have the advanced metrics, and real-time responsiveness to the market, like Upstream Commerce’s price optimization solution.
The company has expanded rapidly, catering to very large retailers all across the globe (Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Africa). You can find the Upstream Commerce tools used by retailers like Toys R Us and Petco, begging the question, what's so special about Upstream Commerce?
Along with its state-of-the-art intelligence tools, we had a chance to learn more about how Upstream Commerce helps its customers.
How Does Upstream Commerce Standout?
On the surface, here's how Upstream Commerce works: If you're Petco and you'd like to know what Walmart is doing with pricing, you can dive deep into the online pricing to check out everything from pricing to product information.
Sounds simple enough, but what are the features that make this happen?
Competitive intelligence entails how your products are being promoted and presented. Therefore, Upstream Commerce presents tons of product information from your own company, along with comparable details from your competitors. This gets the ball rolling for dynamic pricing, since there's far more to competing than just looking at price.
Dynamic Pricing Adjustments
During my demo, I was shown quite a few tools for making dynamic pricing adjustments. In short, Upstream Commerce displayed useful information, which then allowed the retailer to make a decision on pricing.
For example, you might view which products are out of stock at a competitor's site. This would allow you to raise the pricing on your own website, since supply went down, yet consumers are still looking for a place to buy from.
Another report that stood out included the outliers and highly volatile prices. This report shows products that have seen lots of price changes in the past. The graph shows profit margins, recommended price and where the product is sold online. As you might have already noticed, a wide range of pricing strategies could come from this data.
A Solid Interface Made for Customizations
Upstream Commerce runs as a SaaS (software as a service,) so you simply long into the web dashboard and get started. It's not a “set-in-stone” user interface, but rather an open, configurable platform. For example, it lets you remove and add filters, along with columns for things like traffic rates.
Feel free to send specific reports to other users through email, and save reports after adding particular rows or scenarios.
Configuring Rules and Constructing Graphs
Retailers have the chance to set their own rules for graphs and pricing strategies. for example, you might want to weight competitors differently when trying to match prices (You could weight Amazon at 30 and Target at 70, meaning that you're more concerned about matching Target's pricing).
Along with that, Upstream Commerce has tools for capping your pricing, generating graphs and requiring manual approval for price changes.
Dynamic Pricing and Assortment Intelligence
Overall, Upstream Commerce forms pricing strategies using two primary techniques: Dynamic pricing and assortment intelligence.
Dynamic pricing is when prices are recommended for you (covered a little above,) while assortment intelligence analyzes the entire catalog of products, putting them against your competition.
As an example, you might see graphs for comparing prices and SKU counts. So you can see that one company has tons of products in one price range, but not many in others. Let's say this is for one category like curtains and drapes. You can bring in attributes for products like size, color, material, and other product variations.
Upstream Commerce Rates
From predictive and dynamic pricing to the business scenario manager, Upstream Commerce offers seven products for you to choose from. This is more of an enterprise software, where you must contact the company for a demo and talk to them about pricing.
Therefore, I would imagine that just about all of their customers get different quotes. I recommend going to the Upstream Commerce's website to learn more.
Upstream Commerce Support
It looks like Upstream Commerce offers some incredible tools, yet users are bound to run into some problems or want to ask questions along the way. Therefore, I wanted to check out the Upstream Commerce support docs and outlets to understand how customers should expect to be treated.
The customer support team has a dedicated email address you can contact at any time. However, all Upstream Commerce customers receive an assigned account team or individual. This way, you'll most likely end up talking to the same person every time you call, and you're not redirected through a support system that takes forever.
As for online documentation and support, you can complete your own research through the Knowledge Base, considering it's packed with articles to assist you. Along with that, the Upstream Commerce blog is great for learning about dynamic pricing and even for training your workers on using the system.
Which Online Retailers Should Consider Upstream Commerce?
It's clear the Upstream Commerce can support the likes of large companies like Petco, so I would have no problem recommending this to medium and large online stores. It could potentially become one of the most powerful tools you have in terms of staying competitive and understanding the market.
As for smaller ecommerce sites or startups, I don't see any reason not to call Upstream Commerce and go through a demo. It might end up out of your price range, but at least you can evaluate some of potential tools to adopt in the future.
If you have any questions about this Upstream Commerce review, or if you've used it for your own business, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.