We continue our conversation with Alexey Nesterenko from FB Group that deployed a business automation system for the retail trade company that sells mobile devices across its network of shops and warehouses. Although most of the cases and approaches described in this series of articles can be easily adopted in other areas of business related to the sale of goods and customer service.

In the first article of the series, we talked about how the customer's warehouse management was automated. But the work with the customer did not end there, and the project developed further. Let's see what other steps have been done to automate routine processes and increase sales.

Step #2: Let’s Check the Prices of Your Competitors

Alexey, it was a rather big implementation project — what other processes were automated?

Yes, our project went through several stages. And one of the challenges was to monitor prices of competitors and then enter and process the results — all automatically, of course. So we set up a module in our system that monitored the required competitors on the Internet, across marketplaces and partially on their websites. 

After that, we implemented an automated comparison of competitors' products with our catalog, and we could see the competitors' prices every day in real time. This allowed our customer to monitor the entire region and see where prices needed to be reduced and where — to be increased. Finally, it led to a better understanding of their pricing policy.

Did it look like a comparative table?

The 1C system has the ability to run a browser inside it. We opened the necessary websites in this window - the website of the customer, the website of a competitor. If a competitor had a catalog on the marketplace, we filtered and viewed it, too. When loading current prices from websites, the system also received basic product information - the name of the seller, the name of the product, the product ID, etc.

Next, we compared different catalogs and products in them so that the system could determine, for example, that the product with ID 565 in the competitor's catalog matches our product with the ID number, say, 56528. Accordingly, the same product on another website has a different ID — and we bind it too.  When we linked all product IDs from external systems to item records in ours we got the right bindings to match our products with external products.

After that, it was enough just to download the prices for these products. The result of the price comparison was presented in the form of a special report that showed the whole picture of what was happening with the prices. That is, we could automatically find out if some kind of promotion was taking place, it was possible to understand immediately that competitors lowered prices for a certain brand. You can always notice that by looking at the prices.

And you were able to implement this functionality in the 1C system?

Without questions. We can do this with any 1C product. I think that functionality can be referred to as parsing competitors' prices. Another cool thing we did was to implement a non-standard approach to online trading for our client. 

This is how it looked: we had a website on Bitrix and the 1C system. Let’s imagine that today we sold you a mobile phone, and you gave us your number to get a discount. After that, the system found you in various social networks, for example, in Telegram. It’s always trying to locate you on the Internet. To contact you in the Telegram, we created our own Telegram client that sends you a message from the system, as if it were a person, not a bot. And if it can't find you anywhere, then it sends a TEXT message on your phone with a request for feedback and a link. By opening this link you can see the person who served you at the store yesterday with a photo and name, you can leave feedback on his/her work. 

The day after tomorrow you will receive a message with an offer to buy, for example, a case for your new phone. And the system will select a suitable case for you from the top 3 sales for a specific color, specific model. On the backend side, the system generates this unique lead page, which will be shown to the client through a link. On the 3rd day you will receive a message offering to insure your purchase at a discount. In 3 months you will receive an offer to change the glass, in six months - an offer to upgrade, in a year - you’ll get news that a new model has come out. Do you want to pre-order? 

That is, we implemented a sort of BI analytics module that was able to operate with different scenarios depending on what happened on the day of the purchase and what the client bought later. The client base included hundreds of thousands of people. The communication channel with each of them was always selected automatically. If you have left Telegram, we will find you on WhatsApp. 1C was like a leading system, and Bitrix acted as a kind of intermediary tool.

Many companies have not yet reached this level of customer service.

In this project, we were very lucky with the customer, the business owner. He has vast business experience and preferred to invest in automation to free up time for other important tasks. It is clear that when 80% of all sales processes are automated — all that follows is improvement. We conducted interviews in different countries, and some business owners say that they are satisfied with everything as it is, they do not want to make an effort… to invest. But the big part of success in any automation project is the high motivation of the owner who understands why this is needed, why automation is needed. 

Process automation described in this story was based on the low-code 1C:Enterprise platform that allows building business solutions fast and with minimum development effort. Learn more here.