Summary: Direct TV Parts specializes in selling replacement TV parts and repair kits online, with 24/7 customer service. With Visualping, Direct TV Parts more effectively stays on top of eBay’s cut-throat price competition by checking competitors’ prices weekly to ensure their products are listed at the lowest price. Visualping also makes Direct TV Parts’ competitive monitoring much more efficient and cost-effective.
Industry: eCommerce, Electronics
When Direct TV Parts started six years ago, they sold second-hand TVs to lower income level customers, and operated under the business name TV King. The hours were demanding – they had to be open on weekends and late at night – and the day-to-day required non-stop physical interaction. About a year and a half in, the retailer shifted the business model to selling TV parts and repair kits online – and they became Direct TV Parts.
Which was a much better fit. As an online retailer, they were now selling inventory 24/7, the hours were much less demanding, and the items were lightweight and easy to ship all over the world.
Direct TV Parts’ revenue has been increasing every year. But that doesn’t mean the world of selling TV parts online hasn’t come with its own set of challenges: price competition.
eBay is Direct TV Part’s primary platform for selling, followed by their website, which is growing everyday.
It didn’t take them long to realize how cut-throat the price competition is on eBay, especially compared to other marketplaces they tried previously. The purchasing habits of eBay’s consumers are largely driven by price and user rating.
One of the common search filters on eBay is filtering the products by price. If Direct TV Parts’ product was not featured as the first option on the page, then the odds of Direct TV Parts losing the sale increased significantly.
It became clear their competition were even periodically combing through the search pages and adjusting their prices every so often, in order to outcompete the other brands on the page.
Direct TV Parts knew that, if they weren’t able to somehow monitor the prices of their competition and regularly adjust their own prices accordingly, then they would lose out on sales, and Direct TV Parts wouldn’t be living up to its full potential in the online environment.
In an attempt to keep up with the competition, Direct TV Parts would manually check each one of their products one or two times a year, to make sure each item was listed at the lowest price.
“It was just really time-consuming and inefficient.”
To make the process less time-consuming, Direct TV Parts would narrow down the list by looking for patterns of products not selling, and then make a spreadsheet of just those underperforming items.
“We would run a report on anything that hadn’t sold in the last 90 days, and go through those line by line. If something hadn’t sold, then there was a good chance it’d be because it wasn’t the lowest.”
Direct TV Part’s industry generally consists of traditional business owners who used to own repair shops. While they sell online, they’re not the most tech savvy. In comparison, Direct TV Parts is a very young company, and they could see the potential of doing things differently – building a strong brand presence online, for example, and leveraging automation tools to make their competitive monitoring process more efficient.
“I wanted two things. I wanted to always be the lowest price on every item, and I wanted to be able to do that more efficiently than any of our competitors.”
On eBay, consumers can search for products in different ways. One of the most popular search filters is by price, lowest to highest. There’s a featured spot on the eBay search results, where the lowest price sits when the consumer filters the results as such.
Usually, the search automatically features a product from Direct TV Parts, because they’re often the lowest price. But if a competitor outcompetes their price, however, they get bumped down a spot, lowering their odds of making the sale.
Direct TV Parts uses Visualping to automatically get notified if they’re no longer the best priced product on eBay
With Visualping, Direct TV Parts is able to automatically monitor various eBay search results for related search terms, every week, to check whether they’re no longer sitting in the featured spot at the top of the search results.
“Visualping notifies us on any products that aren't the lowest. We do 52 checks each week, and make sure we're the lowest price point on every single item we sell.”
“So, when Visualping goes in to check the page, it’s able to notice the change, just in that area. If we’re not there, then we get the update, change our price, and then we’re good.”
“If our competitors are going through their inventory three to four times a year, and we're doing it 52 times, then we’re able to beat them as the lower priced competitor.”
Today, Direct TV Parts has closer to 11,000 products. It would have been a full-time job for someone to scan through each of their items, and not even at the weekly frequency that Visualping does it.
“So then it’ll shoot us over one hundred, two hundred, three hundred emails, where we already know something has changed. We go through and spot check those prices, and then move on and wait until next week.”
“With Visualping, it’s much more efficient, and it's much more cost effective.”
By not having to hire a full-time employee to check the eBay prices, Direct TV Parts can pay about two thirds that amount, to run through web pages at a much higher frequency than a human being could.