When Daniela Soibelman was brought on board at web-only prescription eyeglass retailer GlassesUSA.com about eight months ago, she was immediately presented with a single, intimidating spreadsheet containing an overwhelming amount of data. The excel file contained about 40,000 eyeglass SKUs from Italian eyewear company Luxottica that the company was considering selling on Amazon.com.
Soibelman, who was hired as marketplaces manager and tasked with leading the 10-year-old merchant’s foray into selling on online marketplaces, immediately began brainstorming ways to automate analyzing the ROI and profitability of selling these products across the web. “I thought, ‘I can’t go one by one researching these items to see which ones to sell and at what price,’” Soibelman says. “Even if I hired a group of 10 people, they couldn’t realistically go through the sheet manually and do that.”
So, Soibelman began searching the web for solutions that could help automate demand forecasting of products to help her. In her research, she found a vendor called Algopix and was attracted to its offering because it could help her understand how well and for what price items were selling across several marketplaces, including Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and Walmart Inc., and also could analyze sales of products on marketplaces in different countries.
She began using Algopix about seven months ago, and GlassesUSA started selling on Amazon.com in the U.S. about five months ago. She also plans soon to sell on Amazon marketplaces in the U.K. and Australia, as well as Walmart’s marketplace in the U.S.
To use the program, Soibelman uploads excel files containing the products she is considering selling on a marketplace, along with their unique identifier codes, such as a UPC code. Retailers also can enter a specific product names if they’d like. She then enters the price GlassesUSA pays for each item. In a few minutes, Algopix returns data for each product, including if the product is sold on Amazon, eBay or Walmart in the U.S., as well as regional data, such as if it is sold on Amazon.co.uk. It also ranks the items by how well they are selling on each site and at what prices. For example, for Amazon, it uses the price displayed in the Amazon “buy box,” a section on the right side of an Amazon product detail page where customers can add a product to their cart or make an instant purchase. Algopix also tells GlassesUSA how many other Amazon sellers are selling the same product.
“It tells me if the item exists on each of the marketplaces,” Soibelman says. “For example, it may be sold on Amazon, but not on Walmart. Or it will tell me the item is available on Amazon in Germany but not in the U.K.”
The data can help her spot opportunities to offer new products to new markets, she says. “If [a product] is not on Amazon, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t demand for it,” she says.
Algopix then uses an algorithm that incorporates dozens of data points to estimate a low, medium or high demand level. Those data points include monthly Google searches, the products Amazon ranks and total monthly sales on eBay. Algopix also displays a recommended marketplace to sell an item on and estimates selling expenses and profits for each item by marketplace. Finally, Algopix tells the retailer if it recommends it purchase and sell the product.
“It helps you build a strategy,” Soibelman says. “You can be safe and sell the best-selling items or go long-tail [by selling products that are harder to find].”
In the U.S., GlassesUSA tracks product sales and pricing data for Amazon, Walmart and eBay. Globally, it tracks Amazon U.K., Spain, Italy and Germany, as well as eBay U.K. and Australia.
“Even if you only sell on Amazon, you have to know what the other platforms are doing. Customers do market research, and if they find a better price on another marketplace, they will buy there,” Soibelman says.
Soibelman says she uploads products to Algopix to analyze at least once a week, but sometimes much more frequently. She says one day this week, for example, she used the service five different times based on different products that she was exploring selling from various suppliers. Additionally, a retailer can track every product they have uploaded to the system on an ongoing basis and receive daily auto-generated reports regarding marketplace sales and price fluctuations.
Using Algopix is not only saving GlassesUSA significant time and labor but also helping reduce excess inventory. Using Algopix recommendations, Soibelman says GlassesUSA was able to sell through all its inventory on Amazon within a couple months.
The retailer also plans to save more time soon by using a new API from Algopix that integrates directly with GlassesUSA’s inventory management system and delivers real-time product data automatically without Soibelman having to upload excel files.
In the near future, GlassesUSA also plans to use market intelligence from Algopix to help it enter into the sports eyewear category, a new merchandise category for the retailer.
“It will be our first time selling this kind of product so we don’t know what the market would want. This will give us perspective on what items are best-sellers,” Soibelman says.
The retailer also is planning on using Algopix for market intelligence for its own direct-to-consumer site by using Algopix’s tool that tracks the most popular Google search terms related to items it carries, such as Ray Ban sunglasses, and that tracks the number of product searches on Google related to GlassesUSA products. These insights can aid marketers in their Google AdWords Campaigns, Algopix says.
Algopix CEO Ori Greenberg says many online sellers are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to which items they should buy.
“Most inventory buyers decide which items to buy and where to sell them using their gut feeling,” says Greenberg. “And we’re talking about all types of businesses here, big and small. Everyone who sells online has to buy items from their suppliers. By using guesswork, of course, they end up being either lucky or wrong. Obviously this is not the ideal way to conduct a business.” As a result, about 20% of all inventory ends up as overstock, he says.
Fees for Algopix range from $4.99 per month to $29.99 a month for analysis on 3,000 products each month, API integration and Google AdWords insights. It also offers a free week-long trial for merchants to test the platform.
GlassesUSA launched in 2009, and in 2018 it posted 70% web sales growth, Soibelman says. Algopix, which launched in 2017, says it works with more than 30,000 online sellers and connects to 16 different marketplaces.
GlassesUSA is No. 229 in the 2018 Internet Retailer Top 500. Amazon is No. 1. Walmart is No. 3.Favorite