Price drops

I have been playing with camelcamelcamel.com for a few weeks now.

The site is extremely well thought of in its simplicity: it will track the price of any reference on Amazon.xxx and when it drops below a threshold you define, send you an email alert.

You can also import your Amazon wishlists for easier tracking of numerous items; I have about 100 price watches and snapped up about 20 of those in the last three weeks, taking advantage of price drops that lasted in some cases one day only.

Checking out some price behaviours, a number of questions arise:

  1. who decides these price drops? (Vendor product managers or Amazon category managers?)
  2. what is the purpose of these up/down price spikes?
  3. why do prices move preferably on fridays?

as an example, here is the price chart for “the Big Chill” DVD:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.09.22The green line is the Amazon price, while the blue and red ones are the prices of third parties selling on the Amazon store infrastructure; data go back about a year (not always the case) and as you can see this item has moved quite a bit: the average price hovered around €7.00 and I got it for €4.89, more than 25% discount over the real street price.

My friend Lorenzo says the camelcamelcamel.com website must be connected to  Amazon, if not outright owned by them, although according to this article, this is not so; they certainly have a lot of information that Amazon could find interesting, as for example a list of products and the prices I’d be willing to pay for each of them.

OTOH, they offer me a genuine value service, i.e. the ability to gauge whether the discount I see is a “real” discount or just one of the background noise many bumps.

I just wish I was able to bulk import a category from the MyMovies collection manager: I have 300+ VHS due for replacement with DVDs and shaving €2.50 from the cost of each would really make a difference for me…

2 thoughts on “Price drops

  1. Gianni, they aren’t owned by amazon. There are other sites that do a better job than camel too, such as PriceZombie. Unfortunately for you, PZ is only available for US stores right now, so it’s not an alternative for you just yet.

    That said, tell Lorenzo about PriceZombie and see if he thinks Amazon owns them too. Would be hard for him to justify his statement because PZ has price info for 50 stores, and there is no way its owned by them all. :)

    • Thank you for your comment – in fact, the BW article makes it quite clear that one of the reasons Amazon does not interfere too much is the heat they have taken for messing up with pricing. That said, I feel that their intermediating my relationship to Amazon is costing Amazon some margin (even though it’s probably increasing the gross revenue) as unless a purchase is urgent (which is not the case most of the time) I will always check the price history and buy on dips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s