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Why Is Product Matching Necessary For eCommerce Stores?

Price2Spy< Price2Spy June 14, 2021

Back in 1999, Bill Gates published a book, Business @ The Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy, where he brought out a few predictions about what will happen in the IT world. Among others, one prediction was that automatic price comparison services would appear.

Back then, that seemed like another of his many straightforward ideas, but now, 20 years later, it’s hard to imagine the eCommerce world without price comparison.

Regardless of the fact whether you are just a user or an eCommerce professional, price comparison is something that you are familiar with. But what many are unfamiliar with is the process behind it – product matching.

How does product matching enable price comparison? Why is it necessary for every eCommerce business to use it? Is it hard to implement it? We will try to answer these important questions.

What is Product Matching?

Have you ever wondered how is it possible that the Macbook air m1 on two different websites is the same? Or even better, how those search engines extract different pricing offers for the same product you’ve been looking for?

Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s because of the product matching.

Product matching is the eCommerce hidden superhero – without it, price comparison would be a mission impossible.

In theory, everything seems pretty simple – the data from two different sources is compared, and if it is matched, the products would be characterized as identical. Humans find this action very easy and self explanatory, but turning it into an automated process is a whole different story.

How Does Product Matching Enable Price Comparison?

The part where the story starts to get complicated is when you need to decide whether the products are identical, or they are just very similar variations. As we said, humans can spot that difference, but automated tools have to try a bit harder. Why is that the case?

Let’s take a look at one example.

Imagine finding one toothbrush for $9.59 and the very same model but as a pack for $5.59. So, the brand is the same, the size, the color, everything. But, are those products identical?

Humans would say yes, but price comparison tools wouldn’t agree. How’s that possible?

Well, even though they are the same products, on the SKU level, they are not; they are considered as variations of the same product. Their quantity is different, therefore it would be a mistake if price monitoring tools would take them as identical.

Thus, the main goal is to minimize false positives. In other words, product matching would be considered as a failure if two different products would be shown as the same. If the user is searching for the best offer for that Macbook air m1 from the beginning of our story, he doesn’t want to compare it with some other model.

Product Matching is an eCommerce Necessity

Someone can say, “OK, but I can do price comparison/product matching by doing a Google search. Why would I need a price comparison tool?”

As we said, your goal is to avoid false positives that can happen in two forms – wrong and missed matches. The situation with the wrong matches is already explained. Missed matches are usually appearing when you only rely on Google search. Google search is not performed directly on competitors’ sites, but instead on Google, and therefore, it can show that there are no matches, while in fact, there could be many.

The safest way to avoid these mismatches is by allowing a price monitoring tool to do the work for you. As an eCommerce owner, it is important that you’re always on top of the situation. You need to know what your competitors are up to, what they are doing with their prices, and so on.

In other words, you are looking for accuracy. It would be a fatal mistake if your repricing decisions are based on the wrong data.

Is Product Matching Hard to Implement?

Well, yes and no. As you could see, some cases can be more complex than the others. Also, a lot depends on the number of competitors, and of course of the product type.

Even though the majority of price monitoring tools offer automated product matching, there are cases when it can not be applied. That means that they would have to use a manual approach. Some tools are even combining different methods, and using machine learning (ML). The ML algorithms are the most complex ones, but at the same time they provide the best accuracy.

Therefore, it’s important to gather as much information as possible before starting a collaboration with some price monitoring tool. Not all solutions are applicable on every business, so it would be best to first check what would suit your business.

In any case, the daunting work won’t be on you.

Conclusion

The times when companies could operate successfully by relying solely on their resources are a thing of the past. In today’s highly competitive environment, everything is a matter of cooperation. This is especially seen in the field of eCommerce. Large markets, many similar products, a large number of competitors are just some of the factors that make business difficult.

In order to maintain a high position, it is necessary to provide customers with what they want, and this is not possible without relying on price monitoring tools. Prices are changing so dynamically today that it is not possible to follow their change manually. And as we explained, it is product matching that allows accurate price comparisons.

Do not deprive your business of opportunities for success, and seek help in the right place!

In order to maintain a high position, it is necessary to provide customers with what they want, and this is not possible without relying on price monitoring tools. Prices are changing so dynamically today that it is not possible to follow their change manually. And as we explained, it is product matching that allows accurate price comparisons.

Do not deprive your business of opportunities for success, and seek help in the right place!