Businesses who sell competitive products are constantly fighting over price. It’s never been easier for shoppers to compare by price, and there’s precious little that will persuade them to go with a seller who isn’t the cheapest.
Sellers need to continually update their prices to remain competitive. Many adjust them automatically using repricing tools, but this type of software is often associated just with Amazon. eBay sellers can assume that this type of software isn’t available to them, or won’t work properly, and that they must monitor and regulate their prices manually.
But that is not the case. eBay repricing software has really come of age in recent times.
There are now several tools on the market which address the challenges of repricing on eBay, taking a number of different, innovative approaches to solve the key problems. We’ll take a look at four of them: Price Spectre, RepricerExpress, StreetPricer and Price Guard.
What’s the big deal about eBay repricing?
Although eBay is continuously evolving, repricing is still more complex there than on Amazon. Every item on eBay has its own individual listing instead of being tied to a product catalog. This makes it difficult to find all the identical items currently being sold, as they are not placed under a single listing.
Recently, eBay has begun to replicate Amazon’s format with its Group Similar Listings feature. Like on Amazon, where the same product always has the same title, photos, and description, eBay’s new feature attempts to combine different sellers’ listings into one product page. But this is not turned on by default, and is not always available. Usually, buyers still scour painstakingly through dozens of listings when comparing prices on eBay.
How does that relate to repricing tools? The first thing that the software has to do is find all your competitors selling the same product. Just as shoppers search for a product, and manually compare titles and photos to figure out if they are the same item, repricing software for eBay has to work hard to make sure it is matching products accurately.
There are two main mistakes that can happen when trying to match products: false negatives and false positives. Each one can cause big problems.
A false positive is when the software thinks two items are the same when they actually are not. This could, for example, match a six-pack of t-shirts you are selling for $30, against a single t-shirt that a competitor is selling for $8, causing your price to be set much lower than necessary.
A false negative is when the software thinks two items are different when they are in fact a match. This can be frustrating, especially if it loses you revenue. How could that happen? Well, a false negative could miss out a key competitor and cause your prices to be set too high, resulting in weak sales.
The challenges of identifying matching items on eBay, where each seller can create their own listing however they want, may seem insurmountable. But, there are multiple ways that eBay repricing tools can accurately match items. These include:
- Using keywords to find listings, just like a buyer searching on eBay
- Using product identifiers like UPCs or EANs
- Using artificial intelligence techniques such as machine learning
We’ll walk you through some of the pros and cons of these methods below.
What are the tools available?
Price Spectre was developed in 2009 by award-winning eBay software company, NullApps. The developer was also a launch partner on eBay’s original seller app store, and Price Spectre can be accessed through its own website, or as an eBay embedded app. It matches items to reprice against using a keyword searching method.
With this approach, Price Spectre finds and filters listings based on the words they contain. By fine-tuning the exact keywords used, this can be a reliable way to match items and find the market price. One downside of matching this way is that sellers need to specify the keywords themselves, but that does provide a level of control over the process that may be useful.
Price Spectre will search eBay several times throughout the day, and for each product it will adjust the price against the matching listings that it finds, and also the floor price (minimum selling price) that the seller sets.
Price Spectre provides over a dozen rules that sellers can use to control exactly how their prices will be set. Examples include pricing against the lowest price or nth lowest price, undercutting or charging a premium, using the average price, and more. Price Spectre also has a rule to increase or decrease prices based on sales velocity (the number of units sold over time).
Price Spectre is affordable, ranging from $2.95 per month for up to 5 listings, to $19.95 per month for up to 1,000 listings. There is an extra $0.02 charge per listing over that level. It offers a 7 day free trial period.
Browse the directory for more information on Price Spectre.
RepricerExpress is developed by Lucid Interactive, a Northern Irish software company with over 12 years experience of delivering solutions for the ecommerce sector, including Amazon feedback solicitation tool FeedbackExpress. RepricerExpress is primarily an Amazon repricing tool, however since 2016 it has also supported automated eBay repricing.
RepricerExpress matches items by their unique product identifier, such as a UPC (Universal Product Code). This enables the software to find matching items and reprice against the current market. UPCs should accurately find identical products, and provide a clear cross section of prices.
In theory, using UPCs to match products should result in a high level of accuracy but it does depend on sellers entering their UPCs correctly. Of course, you must also have your products’ UPCs included in your own listings.
Like Price Spectre, RepricerExpress works on a rules-based system to customize pricing strategies and fit your needs as an eBay seller. RepricerExpress continuously monitors the market 24/7, but you can pause repricing if competition has pushed prices to rock bottom, then wait for them to bounce back again. You can set minimum and maximum prices, select how much to beat competitors by, choose to only compete with Top-Rated Sellers, and more.
Additionally, RepricerExpress provides the option to match your eBay prices against your Amazon inventory, if you sell on both marketplaces. This will automatically adjust your eBay listings to match the prices you have for the same products in your Amazon store.
RepricerExpress operates as a web-based application and offers prices starting at $55 (or £39) per month for 2,500 SKUs. They offer a 15 day free trial.
Browse the directory for more information on RepricerExpress.
StreetPricer evolved from a program first created by Australian eBay seller Cardy Chung, back in 2003. It became his secret weapon for competing on eBay, and was affectionately called SLD, or Search, Lock and Destroy.
StreetPricer is a web-based automated repricing tool designed specifically for eBay sellers. It analyses your products, and scans eBay to find competitors selling the same items.
StreetPricer uses machine learning technology, which is able to identify matching products in a way that mirrors how a human would tackle this problem. Unlike other methods of product matching, artificial intelligence (A.I.) works autonomously – you don’t have to provide keywords or UPCs. This can be very accurate without a lot of upfront configuration, but it’s less transparent so it might take time for you to build confidence in what it is doing.
StreetPricer offers various repricing rules. These include:
- Matching a competitor’s price, plus or minus a set percentage or fixed amount
- Excluding listings with a low stock quantity available
- Excluding specific item conditions, such as new or used
- Excluding or including sellers from specific countries
- Excluding sellers based on their handling time
It offers a 14 day free trial period, then prices start at $75 per month for 1,000 listings. Price levels increase based on how many eBay accounts and active listings you have, reaching $750 per month for unlimited items and stores.
Browse the directory for more information on StreetPricer.
Price Guard is an Australian eBay repricing tool created by prolific developer and entrepreneur, Mark Whitney. It is a web-based service offering various ways to manage and monitor the pricing of your inventory.
Price Guard matches items by UPC codes or by searching for keywords, which you provide when you setup the tool. It lets you customize the search criteria, then will find your competitors and update prices based on your rules. Some of the options you can configure are:
- Staying a set percentage cheaper than your lowest-priced competitor
- Automatically setting a minimum price, based on the percentage profit you want to achieve
- Optional approval of competitors before they will be used in repricing calculations
- Updating prices on eBay directly, or exporting a CSV file which you can load into inventory management software
Price Guard also offers a competitor tracking feature which identifies top-selling items that you don’t already stock, and could be worth adding to your inventory. Another feature is monitoring your suppliers’ inventory levels, so your eBay listings can be set to out of stock when your supplier runs out of inventory.
Price Guard is priced in Australian dollars. Prices range from AU$49.90 (about $38) per month for 100 items to AU$249.90 (around $190) for 5,000 items. They offer a 14 day free trial.
Browse the directory for more information on Price Guard.
It’s very easy for eBay buyers to compare prices, and they almost always go for the cheapest. Other factors may contribute to their purchase decision, such as delivery rates and handling times, but ultimately the seller with the best price will make the most sales.
It is crucial to stay highly competitive on price, and almost impossible to do that manually. It follows that automated repricing tools for eBay have huge potential to increase sales and grow your business.
Amazon’s catalog-driven system makes it easy to identify competitors and reprice accordingly, but on eBay repricing has often been seen as a very risky business. How can you reprice against your competitors, when every seller has their own individual listing with unique images, different descriptions and even entirely different titles?
But automatic repricing software does work for eBay, and there are a number of innovative tools available. Try out the ones we’ve detailed in this post, take a free trial, and see what works for you. If your eBay search rank and sales increase, without sacrificing too much profit, it could be just what you need to gain a crucial advantage over your competitors.