Valu Valu Revamps Site for Businesses That Want to Monitor Prices
Seattle-area e-commerce startup Valu Valu has made a strategic shift in the past few months. Instead of continuing to pitch its service primarily to bargain-hunting consumers and resellers, Valu Valu relaunched two weeks ago as an online price monitoring site geared toward businesses. The idea is to give Internet retailers and small businesses an efficient way to monitor the prices of consumer goods—everything from displays and GPS devices to bicycles and snowboards—and to analyze trends and predict the prices of such products up to 30 days in advance. It’s all aimed at helping businesses position themselves in the marketplace and boost their revenues.
Last February, we reported that Valu Valu was releasing its software in a beta trial to focus on consumers buying and selling used video games online. This month’s shift to a business-to-business model looks like an effort to gain traction and new paying customers in a broader (and more promising) market. “Classifieds and consumer businesses often face a chicken-and-egg problem,” says Valu Valu co-founder Emmanuel Marot, whose previous company, the mobile search startup MotionBridge, was bought by Microsoft in 2006. “Here we bring value to businesses from Day One.”
Marot says his company’s approach is a bit like what Salesforce.com did for customer relationship management, but focused on revenue management. The concept of tracking prices also has similarities to Seattle-based Farecast (now Bing Travel), but for consumer goods instead of airfares. As Marot explains, big companies like Amazon or Wal-Mart have dedicated teams that track competitors’ prices, but small and medium-size businesses don’t. At the same time, Valu Valu tries to provide better data, history, and trends than price comparison sites like Shopping.com.
Valu Valu currently has some 20,000 consumer products and counting in its price-tracking inventory. The technology behind the startup is called “scientific pricing.” It uses artificial intelligence techniques and statistical methods to analyze trends and make predictions about market prices and fluctuations. The company’s basic service, which includes price monitoring for up to 10 products (you supply the UPC codes), is free; more sophisticated analysis and forecasting of prices for up to 100, 1,000, or 10,000 products is available for a pay-as-you-go monthly fee (from $19.99 to $399).