Retail Intelligence Data API for Online & In Store Shopping: The Price is Right

Greg Bates
Jan. 17 2013, 01:30PM EST

You can manually compare pricing on various sites across the web, even while you're in a store. And you can go to sites that offer comparisons between retailers. But how about one that will show you real time changes in pricing, changes that retailers are implementing as frequently as once every six seconds? Digitalfolio does just that and they offer the Digitalfolio API to help with integration of this data.

Today they work with a limited number of 7 partners: Amazon, Buy.com, Newegg, Target, Bestbuy, Sears, Tiger Direct, and Walmart. And it only compares items within limited categories. But as with its partner list, these categories (which are currently in electronics, appliances and a recently added toy section), are multiplying quickly.

Digitalfolio's REST API allows retailers to integrate into its site.

Here's how Digitalfolio keeps up the pace in this rapidly changing environment:

"Our consumer applications immediately detect product changes as consumers shop; and we utilize this 'power of the crowd' to capture real-time product and retailer volatilities including, but not limited to: pricing (including cart price), detailed availability (In Stock, Out of Stock, -as well as 'Low' and 'Slow' stock levels, capturing remaining units, and/or shipping interval data), promotion/flash sale detection, observational significance, and wish list purchase intent. Moreover, Digital Folio algorithms normalize, map, and maintain a universal item master across retailers and categories for meaningful analysis."

These things can't easily be accomplished by shoppers simply surfing the net, or going to comparison sites themselves. Digital Folio delivers interesting twists in its comparison shopping tools, as Walt Mossberg stated in his favorable Wall Street Journal review:

"An even more interesting thing happens when you go to a retailers' page that lists many items in a category, say a page at Amazon that lists TVs. The Compare tab starts pulsating and, in seconds, it generates a list of all the items on the page, along with prices at the other partner merchants.

In my tests, this allowed me to see that a certain Samsung model was cheapest at Amazon, but a Vizio model that also caught my eye was a lot less at Wal-Mart."

But why would a retailer want to subject their store to such fiendish comparisons? Digitalfolio notes that it is important for retailers to keep up. Since consumers will do the comparisons anyway, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Set up for the retailer can take as little as four weeks.

Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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