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Don't Get Fed Delayed Data: Get Real with Price Monitoring

March 16, 2023 // Deputy Dan

A graphic drawing of someone entering dataA graphic drawing of someone entering data

No Lack of Data

The famed information superhighway of the 1990s paved the way for better and quicker data. Now, in today's fast-paced world, there is no shortage of "the numbers." In fact, it's estimated that the big data analytics market is set to reach $103 billion this year, with 97.2% of organizations investing in big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It's not surprising given it's also predicted that the world will generate approximately 181 zettabytes of data by the year 2025.

For many organizations, data has grown increasingly imperative as part of the decision-making backbone. In business, we use it to make daily decisions on the smallest of initiatives (such as where to put the "click here" button on a webpage), to the largest of organizational changes in strategy and mission; for example, launching a completely new product line.

Manufacturers, in particular, are now engaged in advanced and regular data collection and analytical analysis in order to improve operations, eliminate waste, shorten production times, better deploy human resources, trim costs, and more.

But not all data is created equal.

In the world of Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) — a strategy many US manufacturers engage in — timely, accurate data makes all the difference to successful policy enforcement. To loosely paraphrase the old medical adage, doctors can only help if they know where it hurts. Good MAP data tells manufacturers exactly where they are bleeding in the areas of price and the corresponding brand value.

So, the million-dollar question is, how accurate is your MAP data?

Data Gets Real

When it comes to data, there are two different types of information that organizations deal with that are most commonly discussed: real-time data and feed data. Let's look at both.

First, there's "feed data." Typically, there is a delay in getting up-to-the-moment information with this kind of data. In fact, feed data is often collected at regular intervals and stored for later analysis; sometimes to track trends and patterns over time. For example, in the retail industry, feed data can be used to track sales and customer behavior over a period of weeks or months. In the manufacturing industry, feed data can be used to monitor the performance of machines and equipment over time. Feed data can come in handy when it's not critical that the information is readily available with up-to-the-second accuracy, and when technology limitations prevent real-time data capture.

Next, there's "real-time data," and just as its name implies, it's data that is updated and delivered to users in real-time, as it is generated or collected. Real-time data is delivered without delay, and users can receive and process the data while it's being generated or collected. Examples of real-time data include video or audio feeds from live events, sensor data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and stock tickers showing the latest stock prices. You certainly wouldn't want to miss out on important information when attempting to buy or sell stocks — it could be quite costly to say the least!

So, what are the key differences between real-time data and feed data?

  • Speed: Real-time data is processed and acted upon instantly, while feed data is collected over time and analyzed at another time.
  • Detail: Real-time data is often more detailed and granular since it's generated and processed on the fly. Feed data, on the other hand, is typically aggregated over time, which can make it less thorough or specific.
  • Timeliness: Real-time data is often used for monitoring and responding to immediate events or trends (like a MAP violation), whereas feed data is typically used for long-term analysis and strategic decision-making.
  • Volume: Real-time data can be high volume and high velocity because it's constantly being generated and processed. Feed data, on the other hand, may be lower-volume, as it is collected over time.

So, which type of data is better? The answer depends on your goals. Real-time data is critical for applications that require immediate action, such as monitoring patient health or detecting fraud in financial transactions. Feed data, on the other hand, is better suited for applications that require longer-term analysis and trend identification, such as forecasting sales or optimizing manufacturing processes.

Real-Time Has Real Value for MAP Monitoring

For manufacturers utilizing a MAP strategy, real-time data is essential for monitoring prices. Feed data just doesn't cut it when you are trying to rapidly monitor sometimes thousands of SKUs among a sea — or more of an ocean — of the more than 2.14 billion internet shoppers that are utilizing e-commerce sites.

In addition, real-time data has a very real impact on MAP policy enforcement. Being able to jump on MAP violations quickly and accurately helps companies reduce offenses in the long run. Research conducted at Harvard Business School shows that sending MAP violation notices to non-compliant resellers helps with overall policy adherence. In one example, a company that responded rapidly over email to MAP violators was able to reduce their pricing breaches by up to 80%.

MAPCOP Is As Real as It Gets

Just like data, not all price monitoring services are created equal. Some use feed data that includes delayed information; some, like MAPCOP, use real-time data. Because we understand the critical importance of timely, accurate data — combined with the ease of "at your fingertips" — MAPCOP has designed our price monitoring SaaS utilizing a real-time data structure. You can be certain to know what is going on with your prices in the cyberworld of e-commerce, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Now that is getting real with your Minimum Advertised Pricing.

MAP enforcement can be challenging, especially when it comes time to contact a violator with proof. That's not the case with MAPCOP. When a reseller is found violating your MAP policy, a real-time screenshot is captured and can be passed on within one of our built-in, fully customizable notification templates. Our system watches retailers across the internet day and night, freeing you up to focus on other areas of your brand.

A comprehensive system for identifying and stopping MAP violations, with 24/7 monitoring.