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How Do Competitors Track Prices?
Understanding how much competitors know about your pricing is important for keeping strategies confidential as needed. Competitor price monitoring, while often challenging, can provide key competitive intelligence to inform pricing decisions. Companies leverage a variety of creative tactics to try to uncover pricing details about rivals and industry peers. In this article, we will discuss how competitors track prices. Here are some common approaches competitors use to track B2B as well as retail prices:
Direct Customer Conversations
Interacting directly with shared customers and prospects during sales negotiations or conversations often unintentionally reveals useful competitor price monitoring on both sides of the table. Sales teams in particular are trained to subtly gather intel on competitor pricing, discounts, quotes and deal terms whenever possible as they work prospects through the purchasing process.
Of course, customers will not provide full transparency to competitors about the exact pricing you offer them. However, through thoughtful questioning and combining various data points, competitors can piece together reasonable market pricing benchmarks and approximate trendlines. Their sales reps integrate anecdotal pricing insights from numerous touchpoints across multiple customers over time to synthesize directional intelligence. This helps them gauge prevailing market rates.
Public Listings and Financial Filings
Many B2B enterprise vendors and online retailers aiming for transparency publish official rate cards, pricing catalogs, headline price lists, or webpages clearly detailing their pricing. Competitors maintain dedicated competitive pricing analyst teams whose primary focus is to meticulously comb through these public documents and postings for the latest product and service rates, discount programs, bundled solutions pricing, add-ons costs, and virtually any other pricing references related to your offerings.
Financial analysts further scrape through quarterly and annual public filings, disclosures, government contract databases, and regulatory submissions to uncover additional buried competitor pricing references when available. For example, public companies must report sales broken down by product line or business segment. Competitors can reverse calculate implied pricing based on quantities sold. This exhaustive public information mining aims to compile the most comprehensive view possible of published market pricing.
Reseller and Channel Partner Intelligence Gathering
Many companies across both B2B and B2C domains sell all or a subset of their products and solutions through third-party reseller partners, distribution channels, retailers, dealers, marketplaces, and wholesaler networks. Competitors proactively establish relationships with these various middlemen partners to request or purchase pricing data sheets, rate cards, product catalogs, discounted member rates, and broader wholesale or distribution level pricing details that partners have access to.
Because incentives, rebates and channel discounts are very common in these programs, partners are often more forthcoming in sharing your up-to-date competitor pricing lists and analytics reports not available to the broader public. This supply chain data gathering when feasible provides competitors a supplementary view into market pricing outside standard published rates.
Leveraging Third-Party Resellers and Distribution Channels
In both B2B and B2C sectors, many companies strategically leverage third-party reselling partners to broaden their market reach and sales capacity for their offerings rather than solely relying on direct in-house sales teams. These reselling partners include authorized dealers, retailers, distributors, marketplaces, aggregators, and wholesalers that a vendor permits to purchase and resell their products and solutions to end users under certain terms.
Competitors devote extensive business development resources toward establishing friendly relationships, integration partnerships, and even data sharing agreements with such third-party resellers that provide sales channel access to potential shared customers. The key motivation is getting direct or indirect access to your up-to-date product catalogs, price lists, rate cards, member pricing sheets, and other market rate details that partners either have on file or in their databases.
Another avenue is obtaining broader discounted wholesale, volume, or distribution tier pricing bundles that partners are privy to but competitors cannot access directly from a vendor website or public filings since they are meant exclusively for channel partners. Due to long histories and entrenched business partnerships, most resellers feel more comfortable providing such sensitive pricing documents to their competitive partners than directly to end-user prospects or the general public.
Competitors also extensively analyze any public rate filings the resellers themselves submit to regulatory agencies or include in their own financial statements to extract whatever pricing references might be buried within them related to your offerings. Any additional intelligence on market rate benchmarks, no matter how directional, gets incorporated to reverse engineer approximate pricing and discount tiers. This supply-side data gathering through third-party partners provides a valuable supplementary view of prevailing price points.
Web Scraping and Tracking Changes
WHERE LEGAL, competitors deploy web scraping bots to methodically monitor pricing listed on company websites. Tracking changes across SKUs helps quickly identify pricing patterns. Some scrapers capture limited-time flash deal prices not reflected in standard published rates. Any detected pricing changes then undergo detailed analyst review.
Social Media and Community Monitoring
Competitors closely follow company social media pages for new product announcements or pricing promotions which briefly reveal rate details. Support community forums where customers assist each other also yield pricing references for specific configurations. Close word-of-mouth monitoring within a niche helps with pricing approximation.
Customer Surveys and Interviews
To fill information gaps, competitors sometimes conduct buyer surveys or interviews targeting shared clients and prospects. Well-designed questions and anonymity help extract approximate reference pricing points from past deals. Offering incentives encourages participation for better statistics.
In Summary of how Competitors Track Prices
The above competitor tracking tactics combined provide effective coverage for pricing intelligence needs. While public listings offer exact rates, the other channels fill gaps as customer-specific discounts and dynamically set prices are hard to find. Synthesizing data from these sources provides robust competitive pricing analysis. Companies combat tracking risks by offering opaque customer-specific pricing, requiring login access for pricing info, frequently updating online data and encrypting B2B rate cards. Overall, competitors devote immense focus to benchmark pricing, and staying aware of these practices is key.