How important is accurate competitor monitoring? Is it worth hiring third-party companies to conduct offline monitoring or using in-house staff? Why is real-time data more effective for pricing? How do neural networks and cloud technologies automate important business processes within a company?
About the customer:
Russian chain of "At Home" stores, 150+ stores, 50+ cities of presence.
1. Automate the process of competitor monitoring.
2. Control the entire team of auditors online.
3. Accelerate the monitoring process, to react quickly to changes in competitors' prices and dynamic pricing.
4. Reduce monitoring errors.
5. Organize the structure of the competitive environment.
6. Introduce targeted pricing for each store in the customer's network.
7. Organize a cloud storage for analyzing and comparing competitors' prices.
What was it?
1. Monitoring was done manually using Excel files or google spreadsheets.
2. The manager sent the auditors lists of items to be monitored with a comment about the competitor.
3. A team of auditors who were outsourced to an intermediary company. The auditors manually searched for the right product in the file and printed the price, then took a photo to confirm the price.
4. Within 1-2 days after receiving the task, the results were sent in the form of Excel reports by e-mail to the manager of the trade network.
5. Processing the reports and making decisions to change their price offers took managers another 1 day.
What problems this process led to:
1. The manager spent a lot of time sending out lists and comments on the job.
2. A large number of errors in the comparison of products due to the manual search for the right product.
3. A large number of errors in pricing due to manual data entry and unscrupulousness of some hired auditors.
4. Insufficient frequency and volume of monitoring due to the labor-intensive process of price collection, the high cost of hiring and expanding the staff of auditors.
5. Lack of proper and fast analysis of the results of monitoring.
All this led to the fact that the client received not actual data on the prices of competitors, while the client received the final report and processed it, for these 2 days the prices of competitors have already changed for some products.
Auditor errors also greatly affected the quality of the data.
There was no complete picture of the market because only one store of each competitor was monitored. The process of processing the reports took extra time. The result is weak pricing and non-competitive pricing policy, which led to a decrease in sales and loss of profits of the company.
Parameters before implementation:
- Frequency: 1 time per week
- Speed: 2 hours SKU Base List
- Monitoring volume: 15000 - 20000 per month
- Monitoring coverage: 24 competitors
Implementation of the Cenix.pro cloud service:
A personal cloud storage with the functions of monitoring management and analytics of the received data was launched. The client's assortment was loaded into it and automatic integration with the accounting system of the client's company was set up.
The manager in the personal office assigns tasks to auditors, which are automatically allocated to:
- Addresses of competitors' stores.
- Regions and auditors.
- List or categories of products.
- Dates and days of assignments.
In real time, the client controls all the auditors' work by seeing who, where and when has performed or is performing the monitoring. The location verification feature allows you to be 100% sure that the monitoring will be performed at the right address of the competitor.
Price monitoring with the Cenix mobile app:
The process of monitoring prices in a competitor's retail store is done using a mobile app. The auditor goes to the assigned store, scans the barcode of the product and takes a picture of its price tag.
The product is matched by barcode with 100% accuracy, then the neural network recognizes the price from the price tag photo. All this happens instantly and in real time - the photo, price, stock or analogue sign is saved to the product card.
It is important that the auditor sees the result of each recognition and can always correct it in case of errors, which can happen to any neural network due to external factors such as - poor quality of the price tag printing, blurred photo, when the information is not visible even to humans.
Price-checker monitoring function allowed to monitor some of the competitors standing in one place. Obtain data directly from the competitor's database at a speed of ~ 300 sku in 20 minutes.
The accuracy of price tag recognition by the neural network was 97.5%. Taking into account the manual correction function, the accuracy of monitoring was brought up to 99%.
Monitoring results and reports:
Once the auditor has finished monitoring, he exits the competitor's store and simply clicks the Finish Job button in the app. All collected data - prices, photos, stock signs, etc. are sent over the Internet to the cloud storage and are instantly generated into ready-made reports and analytics - it takes no more than 2-3 minutes from the moment the task is completed.
The client's category managers and analysts are notified when the monitoring is ready, open cloud reports with freshly collected competitor prices, and promptly make a decision on changing their shelf prices. This process allows the client to conduct truly dynamic pricing based on up-to-date data obtained immediately after monitoring.
Indicators after implementation:
- Frequency: 5 times more often
- Speed: 3 times faster
- Monitoring volume: +520%
- Speed of decision-making: twice as fast
After obtaining these results, the client began to expand their audit staff by assigning monitoring tasks to their store managers and eventually completely eliminated the services of third-party outsourcing companies that had previously provided them with auditors. This created a competitive environment chart for each of the client's stores and allowed the company to introduce targeted pricing based on the closest competitors around each of the client's outlets. The environment management and targeting reports are also maintained inside the personal Cenix cabinet.
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