Amazon prices fluctuate, for most products, on an hourly basis making it important to use an hourly price tracker in order to catch the big price drops (and sometimes increases) and really save (and earn) money.
Whether you are a small business trying to cut costs on office supplies, or a shopper trying to find great deals and discounts in order to stretch your dollars to the max, the difference between a free price tracking service that gathers one or two data points a day and one that collects prices hourly can be massive.
But saving money isn't the only thing you can do with a price tracker - especially if it also provides sales tracking and visually compelling charts that can be shared easily in content and on social media. Having rich, interactive sales and price figures for virtually any product sold anywhere in the world means your blogging and content marketing can enjoy a massive boost.
Why Hourly Price Tracking?
Amazon isn't so much an online store as it is an online marketplace. As such, for most products, there can be an entire ecosystem of sellers marketing and promoting the same product - all trying to vie for market share and sales.
This makes pricing on Amazon (even for new items) pretty fluid.
On any given day several sellers may decide to offer a discount or a deal on a product in an attempt to clear stock and drive sales. The price of an item jumps around from hour to hour (depending on how many sellers there are). Take a look at this price chart recorded over a week in January for a popular entrepreneur book by Napoleon Hill, entitled Think and Grow Rich.
It's not hard to see how the price drops from slightly below $4 to slightly below $2 and then pops back up - often within the space of a few hours. Now compare this to the price chart of a leading free Amazon price tracker that collects only one or two price points per day for the same month.
Clearly there is a marked difference because the first chart is gathering data continuously so it picks up on the short-lived price drops, whereas the other one doesn't.
Using an hourly tracking service, combined with price drop alerts that are emailed out as soon as the drop is recorded means,
You can act in time to benefit from big price drops without having to waste time and effort monitoring them yourself.
How to save Money with Price Tracking
Ok, so the point of saving money is to buy products as and when they are offered at a discounted price. Here's a sales & price chart showing changes for something a small business or entrepreneur might need to buy. A laptop. Note, this chart only shows data for today. The point being that on any given day there are better times to buy then others (especially for expensive items).
Of course, it's important to know about these changes as and when they happen so you have to combine this with a price drop alert. Fortunately, RankTracer does this for us to. Here's a price drop alert I received for a book I'm tracking.
The only tricky part is deciding which price drop is the best one because you can't tell ahead of time whether or not you've hit the lowest point. However, once you have been tracking an item for a little while you'll soon know what the normal price range is and be able to wait for a discount that drops below.
Remember too that if you have purchased an item at a massively discounted price there is nothing stopping you from selling it back on Amazon (assuming it's not a consumable item, like groceries - nobody wants to buy those used).
If the normal price is $100 and you buy it for $60, sell it back on Amazon at half price (i.e. $50) to give you a total cost of only $10 for that item - 10% of the retail price.
How to Make Money with Price Tracking
Now we come to the clever bit - answering the question, how can I make money from Amazon sales and price tracking?
There are actually a number of ways entrepreneurs, businesses and brands can do this. The first, and most obvious, is that retailers can monitor prices of products they sell to ensure they offer the lowest price (only when prices are high - it's unlikely any one business would be able to discount their products to beat the market all the time) to capture more exposure on Amazon's buying page.
But there are a couple of more subtle ways to use this data.
Content & Influencer Marketing
One of the most important ways to grow a business is to establish a network of influential relationships with people and organisations in your niche. But building these relationships can be time consuming and often fruitless.
The problem is that big influencers have a lot of people trying to catch their attention and this makes it difficult to be heard. But sharing visually compelling sales information about the products those influencers sell (i.e. like their books) and putting a positive spin on that information via social media is a fantastic way to get yourself on their radar.
Guy Kawasaki once tweeted "This made my day" when I shared an article showing how his marketing book was outselling all others in his niche. He was clearly delighted and his millions of Twitters followers poured in to read the article leading to a bump of thousands and thousands of visitors.
That's Web traffic you can't buy.
This type of information is super easy to share on social media. It's ideal for creating eye catching tweets. Like this one I sent about The Lean Startup.
By incorporating visually rich data into your content you can give your online marketing a real boost and skyrocket interest from important influencers. Ultimately, becoming a popular authority in your niche is one of the best ways to make long-term, sustainable profits, and shareable high quality data like this is a great way to accomplish this goal.
Price Alert Service
As mentioned, free price trackers currently only gather sparse sales and price data making it very unlikely you'll catch a good price drop. That means there is a gap in the market to start a business that offers better quality, fine-grained price alerts and product data.
Take a look at today's price chart for the Chromebook again.
As you can see, the price drop hit $174. Now compare this to the prices displayed by another leading price tracker.
The lowest price recorded by them for the entire month was $179.
This gives you the opportunity to get in front of the market and offer better prices more often.
If you are already in the business of reviewing and talking about products this is the perfect way to generate more interest.
By ensuring your readers get the absolute lowest prices on offer you stand to generate far more revenue from Amazon referral commissions - since people will naturally choose to buy items for the lowest available price.
Here's another idea in the same vein.
People love books, right? Now there's no need to rely on the NY Times bestseller list because you can accurately track the sales of leading titles and actually demonstrate which are selling the best. Combine that with the lowest prices available and you've got a way to become both an authority and a retailer in the book space.
Data Driven Proof of Success
The stats and data for both prices and sales generated by RankTracer is also easily shareable via social media. This means that as a publisher or marketer it is a cinch to show off how effective your advertising and promotions are.
Let's assume that you post an article about a specific product (that you are tracking) and this leads to an increase in sales. Sure, your clients will be happy, but what you really want is to show other potential clients and advertisers.
It's one thing to say you're the best, it's another to be able to show a sales chart that proves it.
Want to do a comparison review between two products and actually show which one is more popular? No problem, simply chart the sales of any two tracked products together and a winner quickly emerges.
Let's pretend I was the marketer or publisher for a book and wanted to show off how well it was selling in comparison to other leading titles. I could quickly bash up a chart like this one.
Clearly there are two front-runners in this space - The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. If I was one of their publishers I would be shouting this from the rooftops.
Creating a social media marketing campaign showing off how a product is selling using a visually compelling data driven chart like this is a powerful way to boost revenue. After all, nothing breeds success like success itself.
There are plenty of other ways to use a sales and price tracking service that offers fine-grained data like this. Journalists and bloggers, for example, might use the data to support their assumptions and conclusions. Manufacturers might use it to highlight their sales performance.
How would you use the power to access the lowest prices and most intimate sales data for any product in any industry? Share your ideas in the comments.