08 Feb 2017

Bob Ramsey on Online Retail, Amazon Competition and more

BobRamseyChief Operating Officer Bob Ramsey has had over thirty years of experience working in the retail industry. He currently manages pricing strategy and operations at Bailey’s, an internet retailer based in Woodland, CA that specializes in a unique assortment of professional outdoor work gear and equipment. Bailey’s pricing strategy isn’t to charge customers at the cheapest price, but rather to create a relationship between the consumer, product and price that eliminates price as being the decision-making factor for purchases. Bob says Bailey’s “will be profitable and will make money, regardless of the prices it charges.”

Bailey’s has a dynamic relationship with competitive intelligence, as the retailer’s niche marketplace doesn’t have as much access to competitive data as larger grocery retailers. Bailey’s collects most of their customer data through their shipping procedures and by accessing and watching their Amazon sales. The internet retailer thrives on being able to differentiate from Amazon by printing in-mail ads and having convenient shipping processes. Bailey’s will also be the first customer of Engage3’s new “personalized promotions” platform, and Bob hopes to work with Engage3 to expand customer relationships.

To learn more about Bailey’s online platform, Bob’s experiences in pricing strategy, and Bailey’s relationship with Engage3, check out Bob’s full interview.

17 Jan 2017

Engage3 Promotes Helena Cisneros to VP of Customer Success

Helena CisneHelena Cisneros, Sr. Dir. Operationsros, formerly the Sr. Director of Operations for Engage3, was recently promoted to Vice President of Customer Success. Cisneros has been with the company for over 15 years after having served for 10 years in retail management with Target. With the company’s rapid expansion, the move places Helena in optimal position to ensure new customer success while also maintaining the quality service standards set for existing Engage3 clients. An overachiever by nature, Helena’s dedication to her team and her clients truly sets her apart. With the company’s plans to more than double revenues this year, Helena will continue to play a vital role in the process and the lead the charge as more clients take advantage of Engage3’s leading technology solutions.

20 Dec 2016

Six Reasons Why Retailers Need Dynamic Competitive Intelligence Solutions: Part II

Traditional Comp Shop Programs Don’t Account for Omni-Channel

Omni-Channel is no longer just a buzz word. Millennials now represent over 50% of retail spending. Both they and your traditional shoppers expect retailers to meet them wherever they like to go and however they prefer to interact. As a result, retailers are increasingly testing and rolling out click-and-collect and delivery programs. According to IBISWorld, online grocery sales are expected to increase 9.5% annually to become a $9.4 billion industry in 2017.

With all this in mind, retailers are beginning to realize that they can’t just look at the in-store data anymore—in fact now it’s much more cost-effective to use online data and augment with directed in-store checks. It becomes even more critical that retailers leverage solutions that help them understand where they can responsibly leverage online data (because sometimes the assortments don’t fully match) and where to use in-store data. Retailers’ online vs. in-store strategies are constantly changing, and so a hybrid approach becomes even more critical to maintain complete visibility.

Inflexible Programs

Woman-StretchingEngage3 market data demonstrates that while many categories and departments are still being priced at a national level, there is a strong trend towards increasingly localized pricing. It’s these location-specific products and categories that can be detrimental to a retailer seeking true visibility, because KVI lists and comp shop budget dollars are not allocated and reallocated appropriately. Far too often we see that many retailers’ competitive intelligence programs still leverage static, banner-level lists by which margin opportunities are missed and price reputation is threatened. It’s imperative that competitive intelligence programs be able to respond to market changes and leverage real-time analytics to maximize ROI.

Tactical, Rather Than Strategic Focus

Most retailers today put too much emphasis on the competition’s prices as they change, rather than the strategies that are being employed at the root of those changes. The comp shop processes of old produced data that was far too old and stale by the time it was received, and thus it has historically been much more difficult to discern the competition’s pricing and assortment strategies. Retailers need the ability to take a step back, see the bigger picture, and truly understand the competitive landscape and strategies that are being deployed around them.

Wrong Measurements

Confused Measuring Panda

We’ve seen that most pricing departments are responsible for managing a budget, however, oftentimes they aren’t responsible for measuring the quality or exact value that the program returns. How does your team measure the effectiveness or value of your competitive intelligence program today? We’ve seen over time the incredible value of appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), or measurements, being defined and maintained to evaluate the program. KPI’s may include find rates, accuracy, competitive price visibility, completion rates, Return on Investment, and more.

12 Dec 2016
1st place Engage3 winners (Ken Ouimet and Edris Bemanian), 2nd place winners from PocketPoints Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson), 3rd place winner Ken Kruszka from SnapCheck and venture capitalist judges John Dougery, Arjun Chopra, Ankur Jain, and Lokesh Sikaria.

Venture Capitalists Grant Engage3 1st Place at TiE Pitchfest in San Francisco

On November 3rd, Engage3 took to the stage to pitch their business plan and traction to a panel of venture capitalists and an audience of Bay Area entrepreneurs at TiE Silicon Valley’s San Francisco Pitchfest event to ultimately secure first place after the presentation and Q&A.

Judges at this year’s event included: John Dougery, Managing Partner of Inventus Capital; Arjun Chopra, Partner at Floodgate; Ankur Jain, co-founder of Emergent Ventures; and Lokesh Sikaria, Managing Director of Moneta Ventures.

The event was sponsored by DLA Piper and moderated by Rajiv Dharnidharka, a partner of DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley litigation group. Other TiE sponsors include Adobe, Cisco, SanDisk Corporation, IBM, VMware, Zoho Corp, Discover, HP, Mayfield Fund, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Morgan Stanley, Silicon Valley Bank, and more.

TiE was founded in 1992 and currently has 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. The non-profit’s mission is to foster global entrepreneurship and claims an economic wealth creation estimate of $200 billion. TiE’s annual professional conferences, TiECon are regarded as the largest entrperneurial forum in the world and held in over 15 cities globally each year. Click here to learn more about TiE.

05 Dec 2016
flow chart background

Six Reasons Why Retailers Need Dynamic Competitive Intelligence Solutions: Part I

As the in-store and digital customer experiences rapidly converge, retail sales are being attacked from all directions. Powerhouses like Amazon, Walmart, and other online retailers have developed aggressive pricing algorithms with the power to change a price multiple times in a single day. Sophisticated players are even changing the prices on 10-20% of their online assortment daily (and prices on their top items as frequently as 3-4x per day). Other threats to retailers’ price image include the continued growth of hard-discounters and dollar stores and the proliferation of private label products.

Hi All, my name is Kevin Johnson and I work in Product Marketing for Engage3. I’ve spent the better part of four years in the competitive intelligence industry and I’ve spoken with hundreds of different retailers in the space about pain points and inefficiencies as they persist today in so many organizations. This article is meant to be a two-part culmination of what I’ve learned about the evolution of retail technology and comp shops. I’ll spend time reviewing some of the key challenges facing those operating in the “Old World” of competitive intelligence and why it is absolutely critical to have a dynamic solution to combat these challenges. Please don’t hesitate to reach out here if you think there’s something I may have missed – my “door” is always open.

Typical regional comp shop programs today leak up to 65 basis points* of margin largely due to inaccurate data and pronounced gaps in ability to respond to these dynamic price changes quickly. However, new technologies and data-driven processes are emerging to help traditional retailers adjust in this new world of price transparency, hyper-competitiveness, and shifting consumer behaviors. At Engage3, we see more often than not that retailers don’t always have the visibility they need to make informed pricing decisions such that both profit is maximized and price image is maintained. It’s become apparent that traditional, static approaches are not suitable anymore. The problems that we’re constantly seeing are as follows:

Poor Visibility, High Error Rates, and Low Find Rates

Due to the combination of slow competitive product and price check cycles, expensive and error-prone data collection processes, product linking complexities, departmental resource constraints, and the ever-shifting competitive landscape, it is increasingly difficult to achieve the right level of competitive visibility. The “Old World” of competitive intelligence does not allow for intelligent ways to match products across retail chains, which results in low find rates and leaves the door wide open for natural human error.

Retailers working within this “Old World” of competitive intelligence are exceedingly at the mercy of the labor collecting the data. When we begin working with a new client, we on average see error rates between 20%-40%, find rates between 50-80% and low overall visibility. Whether you use a price optimization system for execution or have a more manual approach to pricing, these challenges contribute significantly to the aforementioned 65 basis point leakage.

Comparing Apples to Oranges

Apple-not-equal-to-orange

Retailers are flying blind in an age where private label products are becoming increasingly commonplace. According to Nielsen, private label products share of retail sales grew from 16.2% to 17.4% between 2009 and 2011, with year-over-year sales growth outpacing national brands by a significant margin. The trend highlights the importance of quality product linking methods as store brands continue to consume market share. Without accuracy in like-for-like products, retailers are getting little or no value for the money they spend on competitive intelligence. How can they, when their auditors are unknowingly collecting data for apples instead of oranges?

 

More to follow…

02 Jan 2014

McClatchy Invests in Engage3

The McClatchy Company, a leading news and information provider and publisher of iconic news brands such as the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee, invested an undisclosed amount in Engage3 in August of 2014.