In MetaLocator's Where to Buy solution, price monitoring is a key component of the software. To monitor prices, MetaLocator crawls the target retailer Website, in hopes of indentifying important product attributes which can be used for matching.
Matching relies on overlapping data within what is found on the target Website and what is provided in the product import. Without sufficient overlap, the product will not be matched and therefore will not be displayed to the end user when opening the Where to Buy interface. Matching is therefore a "two-way street", where the quality of the imported data and that found on the Website combine to provide the customer the best experience.
Evaluating a Retailer Website
When MetaLocator staff evaluate a Website for inclusion in the Where to Buy suite, we look for the following features and data:
Search engine that returns a list of products for a keyword
Unique product detail page for each product
Display of structured, required product meta-data, including name, price, SKU, MPN and other keys, such as GTIN, UPC, EAN etc.
Stock status information, quantity available, etc.
Delivery modality (In-store, online, ship-to-store, shipping details)
Condition (new, used)
Is A Bundle? (E.g. mutliple products)
If the retailer Website does not meet the requirements above, it can not be included in the Where to Buy solution.
Most modern eCommerce websites meet all of these criteria, however; the most common disqualifier is the lack of structured product key data. Some retailer Websites will display only an internally known product ID without displaying the manufacturer part number, UPC or an externally known SKU, which makes product matching difficult or impossible.