The founder and CEO of TGN Solutions International GmbH, George Koutsoudopoulos, explains how the process of extracting and processing e-commerce data translates into increased profitability and sales, as well as a valuable comparative advantage in retail competition.
E-commerce has now grown to an unprecedented extent and the numbers are stunning. Millions of products, innumerable offers, and a huge range of items that belong to the same category and are characterized by few variations and endless differences in terms of pricing. The human factor always plays a role in all of this, with problems such as lack of communication among the commercial departments of a business concerning pricing policies, errors in product descriptions and others, which can lead to misunderstandings and loss of profitability and sales.
The question is whether within this volume of information it is possible to extract data that will give the company a comprehensive picture of its products and pricing policy vis-à-vis its competitors. The goal is to take commercial decisions based not on outdated data, but rather on data that involves the greatest possible coverage, matching and freshness, providing a complete image of the market in almost real time. “This capacity does exist and, in fact, this is the scope of price intelligence”, explains George Koutsoudopoulos, founder and CEO of TGN Solutions International GmbH.
The basic tool of this model is data mining. This is about collecting all the figures, prices, products and any other data displayed to the end consumer in an online store. But there is one crucial difference. Data mining has indeed been known for years, but creating the right technology infrastructure to make the most of it is what sets TGN Solutions apart. “We are not a general IT company. Since 2009, we have been providing a specialised service suite solely in the field of price intelligence, with which major retailers and brands in Greece and abroad monitor and analyse the pricing policies of their competition, live, 24/7”.
The three pillars of price intelligence
The operation of the SaaS (Software as a Service) solution offered by TGN Solutions International GmbH is divided into three main pillars.
The first pillar is PRICECOMP, named after the words ‘price’ and ‘competition’. This feature receives in an automated manner the entire list of codes that the client of TGN Solutions offers online or the brand – manufacturer distributes to the market, and automatically detects any e-shop that has competing products. The way it does so is by matching any identical product with the same features and any offers that may accompany it. This process can monitor constantly the pricing policy of competitors or re-sellers. “It can provide not only price or availability, but also even more in-depth information” notes George Koutsoudopoulos. “Do competitors have any promotional action? Do they give a refund or a gift? For instance, if they sell laptops do they also offer a bag too? When you go to buy this product, do they offer any final discount in the basket? We search the entire route of the product to the end consumer and collect all information in a database. Then, we analyze and deliver this information to the customer in two ways: firstly, we provide the data directly so that they can be analyzed internally by business systems through data feeds and APIs; and secondly, through a cloud platform with graphs, analysis and reports in Excel, established on Google Cloud in a commercial form, allowing our customer to watch live as if he/she were monitoring the stock market. The platform has been built and is constantly upgraded on the basis of the ‘From the market – For the market’ logic, i.e. focusing on the unique needs and ideas of the clients and their executives. The data ranges from pricing changes to major breakdowns on, e.g., which products are sold more by competitors, which ones are sought by customers, the exact timing of changes in prices in each category, etc.”.
The second pillar of the TGN Solutions’ service suite is called Assortment Monitoring & Analysis. “Essentially, we are talking about the range of products, which does not change on a daily basis but rather on a weekly or monthly basis. In this service, the platform matches the categories, rather than the products. So, for example, it can give the full image of how many 32’’ LED televisions with the same characteristics the major competitors of an electronics retailer have, at what prices they are sold and how big the range in this category is. As George Koutsoudopoulos explains, “it offers information on where the competitor has the widest range and the highest / lowest prices, so that the respective department of the company can mobilize and get competing products in that category”.
The third and last pillar of TGN Solutions’ product suite is newsletter and flyer analysis through the Flyers & Newsletters Monitoring service. Through an automated process, the service acquires, analyses and visualizes the data contained in the newsletters and digital/print brochures, and offers the user of the tool the ability to respond promptly to any offer, so as not to lag behind competition.
A valuable comparative advantage
The core functions of this integrated service suite are, as we noted, based on data mining. What differentiates TGN Solutions’ technology is the immediacy and precision with which it analyzes and offers all the information to the customer 24/7. The platform collects and presents data from online stores with hundreds of thousands of products, performing multiple checks on everything that the end consumer sees on her screen – a process that, if performed manually, would require days or even weeks to complete.
However, since the error factor on the part of the manufacturers, e-shops or the people who make the product listings is by no means negligible, the process introduced by TGN Solutions also involves human intervention. While about 90% of all operations are automated, 10% are performed by experienced analysts and data mining experts who use TGN Solutions’ internal tools to detect any errors and correct them immediately. “Via an SLA, we provide our customers with the assurance that the data and analysis that they receive from our services reach a performance of 98% – 99% in terms of quantity, quality and immediacy across all three measurement dimensions” concludes George Koutsoudopoulos.
TGN was established ten years ago as a startup and has now become an international leader in price intelligence, trusted by the largest commercial companies around the world.
In what follows, businesses and partners explain the importance of price intelligence and the value of services offered by TGN Solutions International GmbH.
George Filippopoulos – Digital Marketing Supervisor, OTE Group of Companies
“Price intelligence is one of the so-called 4 Ps of marketing, ensuring the efficient delivery of products and services offered via digital channels”.
Vassilis Komninos – CEO, Delonghi Kenwood Hellas SA
“Delonghi Kenwood is a keen believer in utilizing new technologies and high-quality big data in order to analyze the market, the tactics and the trends, following faithfully our ‘Better everyday’ corporate motto. TGN is the strategic partner that will turn this data into value”.
George Christakis – Regional E-Commerce Digital Marketing Manager, INTERSPORT
“In the digital age it is necessary to collect, process and utilize the right information at the right time. INTERSPORT, with the help of TGN’s services, has live access to critical consumer data”.
Vassilis Papakostas – General Manager, ITEQ S.A (Pharma Omnichannel Strategies)
“Serving over 1000 pharmacies nationwide at both the physical and the digital level, we acknowledged the great value of price intelligence in this field and established a strategic alliance with TGN in order to increase sales and profitability of pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies”.