In todays ever changing world, it is not at all surprising to see that the web has drastically changed the way products were sold. But, owing to the numerous e-commerce platforms being developed each day it has also led to fiercer competitions with everyone trying to cannibalize brick-and-mortar sales.
Not only this, with widespread social media interventions, customers now a days take to social media to evangelize and abuse products and companies, while e-commerce sites sell products without manufacturers knowing – at price points that erode brand power and market position. And more so, it becomes an absolute necessity for any business / organization to deploy certain retail and distribution chain monitoring techniques.
So basically, retail and distribution chain monitoring which comes under the umbrella of Supply Chain Management, is a technique/ process which provides real-time solutions and helps in connectivity and control of business processes on the network level. It binds together orders, shipments, containers, inventory etc... together in an operational data store for end-to-end transparency and supply chain visibility.
Critical analysis of the products being sold with the help of simulated tracking mechanisms.
Preventing illegal sales through continuous monitoring of auction sites for cheaper alternatives.
Dealing with the process of price erosion via illegal flash sales monitoring as well as with the help of online discounts.
Reducing product dumping, by widespread comparison of inventories on retailer websites and dumping sites.
Improving product, be it in terms quality, quantity, pricing etc.., with the help of active customer feedback mechanisms and evaluation of online buzz.
Increasing channel effectiveness via product placement tracking, on the various e-commerce websites.
Effective brand protection through continuous social media monitoring for various reviews or negative comments etc... and via processes like Astro – turfing.
Thus, with the web being the largest and most varied warehouse of real-time retail data in the world, continuous monitoring of it can proactively help in managing the channels and having an edge in the competitive arena.