UK retailers wasting two million hours every week on competitor price-checking

UK retailers are wasting almost two million hours every working week due to ineffective competitor price-checking processes, according to a research report. 

The findings were published in a white paper by pricing and automation specialist, Omnia Retail, which questioned 150 UK retail businesses on the scope and efficacy of their pricing strategies. They show that companies are needlessly spending an average of 10 hours per week on manually checking and benchmarking their competitor’s prices, amounting to almost 1.97million hours or 246,000 lost working days across the sector.

More than half (55%) of retailers said they dedicate at least 1-10 hours per week to monitoring market pricing, with 24% of retailers saying they commit 11-25 hours to the practice on a weekly basis. One in 10 brands surveyed said that they spend around 26-50 hours per working week on the practice; the equivalent of one full-time salary – while 1% said they spend more than 50 hours. Despite this, 13% of retailers say they don’t spend enough time price-checking competitors.

Moreover, despite 57% of retailers saying they complete competitor price checks on a weekly basis, only 17% felt that the practice has helped them achieve their goals. This may be due to the fact that they are using the data ineffectively, a notion supported by the fact that only 48% of retailers use competitor price research as a reason to increase or cut their prices.

Sander Roose, CEO of Omnia Retail, said: “The growth of e-retail has been a game-changer for retailer’s pricing strategies. Consumers can check how much their competitors are charging for the same products with a few clicks, so real-time benchmarking is key if brands are to keep pace with other industry players.

“However, these figures show that companies are committing a lot of time to competitor price-checking – an average of 10 hours per week – but doing so with little strategy or direction. Just half of retailers said they actually use competitor benchmarking information to change their prices and 83% don’t believe that the practice has been beneficial to the business.

“Intelligent software can combat this, automating the price-checking process and requiring almost no time or resource to manage. It also frees up time for teams to focus on creativity and improving their business in other ways – something that will be of increasing importance in the fight to maintain margins and deliver excellent customer experiences.”

*1.97 million hours has been calculated as below:

Average time spent per retailer every week = 10 hours

Average time spent by retailers using automation = 0 (10 wasted hours)

10 wasted hours x 196,800 UK retailers

= 1,968,000 hours

/ 8 hours (normal working day) = 246,000 working days

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