Resources : Automatch

Automated product matching process

The key to a good and reliable price monitoring is the accuracy and efficiency of product matching.

In addition to manual product matching (either performed by our clients, or by our data entry team), Price2Spy introduces a brand new automated way of product matching - Automatch. The idea is to automate what's been a manual task so far. Even more than that - Automatch is a continual process - even if the product is not matched initially, Automatch will keep trying - and when the product gets added to a competitor's site, Automatch will pick it up, and add it to your Price2Spy account. Price2Spy will, in turn, take care of price monitoring.

What is Automatch?

Automatch is a continual automated product matching process that can be performed at specified intervals (daily, weekly, monthly), depending on your needs.

Depending on the match approval procedure (which is configurable to be fully automated, manual, or hybrid) products that get matched end up in your Price2Spy account, where they get regularly monitored for price changes.

How does Automatch work?

Automatch works in the following way: all existing products in client’s account that still don't have matching URLs on particular competitor sites are attempted to be matched – automatically.

In other words (for our clients who are already familiar with the Price Matrix report): Automatch will automatically try to fill in blank cells in the Price Matrix.

The matching is performed according to a set of matching rules, which we define together with our clients. The rules take the following into account:

  • product data searchable on a particular competitor site (for example: some sites may provide EAN/UPC search, others may not);
  • variations in product naming (example: 'Galaxy S5 Silver' vs 'Galaxy S5 Gray';
  • matching accuracy (determined by several factors, for example linguistic proximity);
  • the need for manual check on matching accuracy: the matches can be considered safe enough to be automatically approved, or they would need manual approval.

Why Automatch?

  • Executed continually

    • With manual product matching, we have learned from our clients' experience that they quite often face a situation that particular products are not found on a competitor site at the time the initial product matching was performed. However, after some time, competitor does include it in its offer, but Price2Spy does not know about it - and hence it does not monitor its price;
    • On the other hand, Automatch will keep trying until it finds the product on the competitor site.

  • Matching efficiency / costs

    • The costs of manual product matching tend to get too high once we speak of 10 000 products or more;
    • Furthermore, the time needed to perform the matching is often too long (weeks, if not months);
    • This is where Automatch kicks in, within a few days you'll have up-to-date matching data. Additionally, cost effectiveness gets better and better as the number of products to be matched goes up.

Who is Automatch meant for?

Automatch is mostly used by companies monitoring large number of products (1 000 products or more), but an important prerequisite for Automatch to be applicable is for products to have SKUs, UPCs, MPNs or any other product details to be uniquely matched by across competitor sites. Without that, Automatch still may be possible, but we'd need to investigate matching accuracy very carefully.

Price2Spy clients using Automatch are mostly the ones dealing with electrical and electronic / household devices, TVs, cameras, IT equipment, car parts, medical instruments and so on. In other words - any industry having uniquely identifiable part numbers.

As a rule of thumb, here is how to check if Automatch would work for you:

  • Do your products have something uniquely matchable (UPC, EAN, MPN or similar)? Sometimes a product name could do, provided that the name contains model number which is unique;
  • Can your competitor sites be searched by the criteria above (UPC, EAN, MPN, product name)?
  • If so, does the search return the correct product? If so, Automatch is definitely going to be good for you…

Please note that Automatch may be working well for your products, but not necessarily on all competitor sites - because it heavily relies on what product data the competitor sites show.

Advanced Automatch (what if no EAN/MPNs are applicable?)

In certain cases, EAN/UPC/MPN etc. are not worth much, because your competitors may not be using them (or not allowing search using those values).

However, Automatch still may be able to help. Price2Spy Automatch uses advanced matching techniques which are able to compare similarity of products based on several linguistic, price, colour criteria etc. The result will have a so called ‘matching accuracy’, and depending on your needs, we may set the threshold for the matching accuracy – in order for the match to be automatically considered a good one.
Or, we can go the other way around – Automatch finds potential matches for you, and you’ll be able to check / approve them yourself (or reject them, if they appear to be wrong)

As you can see – Automatch is a pretty complex process, and the way it’s going to work very much depends on your industry (the nature of your products) and the way your competitors' sites work.
On the other hand, you can count on our experience, and Automatch power – so if you’re in doubt if Automatch would work for you – we’d be glad to do an analysis for you. What we need from you is a sample list of products to be matched, accompanied by the list of competitors' sites.

Can Automatch be integrated into your own software?

Yes, we have released a brand new version of Price2Spy API – with several new Automatch-related features in it.
Some of our clients already do use it integrated with their own software – so they see which products have been Automatched, with the ability to approve / disapprove matches from with their own software.

How much does it cost?

Since most of our clients require a tailor-made Automatch solution – we can’t give you a price list.
However, in terms of costs, you should count on

  • Setup (one-off) costs, which will most likely be per competitor site (not per number of products)
  • Monthly costs (in addition to your regular Price2Spy monthly fees) – depending on the number of products /  competitor sites and the frequency of Automatch checks.

For a detailed quote, and analysis of Automatch feasibility – please email us at info@price2spy.com