To remain competitive and profitable, all brands must be data-gatherers. This is part of any brand’s daily routine, but a crucial portion of this data is only available online and can only be collected accurately when viewed from the perspective of the consumer. Many brands are using outdated or ineffective means of gaining this view and ‘seeing what consumers see’. This is no longer enough: the only guaranteed way to effectively gather accurate insight is via an IP Proxy Network (IPPN) and here’s why…
Take global e-commerce, which is predicted to grow by 20% to reach $3.5 trillion this year. Competition in the sector has reached a high, with a constant stream of new pureplay online brands battling with bricks-and-clicks. In order to survive – and thrive – in this climate, brands can’t afford to simply meet their customer expectations: they must exceed them. This means personalised and localised deals, special offers and content and to do that they need data.
Let’s say a global supermarket chain wants to check pricing on the site of a competitor with a branch in the same town. If supermarket #1 tries to access the site, its IP address, location or device will likely be flagged to supermarket #2, which will block access. An actual consumer on the other hand is able to browse the websites of both supermarket #1 and supermarket #2, comparing prices and being served the best deals. How can brands step into the shoes of their shoppers and see what consumers see?
Some brands have turned to bulk-buying data centre IP addresses in order to explore competitors’ websites. While this may have worked initially, this approach is a short-term quick-fix. Data centre originated IP addresses are easy for brands to get hold of, but they’re also easy for brands to identify and (when it becomes apparent that a competitor is accessing a site) to block.
Instead of an open and transparent web, these practices have in effect shielded parts of the internet from view, creating a veil which has proven difficult for many brands to lift.
A number of global brands are now using IPPNs. IPPNs work by re-routing traffic through endpoints connected to a network, allowing brands to access competitor websites via these open pathways. Users of the network can then choose which location and which device to utilise, depending on their needs.
Supermarket #1, for example, can re-route traffic via a smartphone in a New York borough, the owner of which has opted-in to be part of the IPPN. Supermarket #1 can then check supermarket #2’s local branch prices in an open and transparent way. It’s important that this open, transparent ethos also extends to the consumers who contribute to the IPPN. Brands should therefore select an IPPN whose millions of global consumers have opted in (and can easily and freely opt out) of the network, and receive benefits like software subscriptions in return.
The supermarket scenario is but one use case. In addition to retail, thousands of brands and business spanning travel, cybersecurity, social media, advertising and more, are benefiting from global IPPNs and an open web environment. And in addition to checking prices and serving consumers the best deals, brands are also using IPPNs for keeping consumers safe; verifying ads, protecting against fraud and ensuring websites are responsive.
Brands are judged on minute-to-minute best offers, products and consumer packages. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, while in the travel sector, 81% are willing to switch brand loyalty for a more personalised experience. Being able to see what consumers see and base business decisions on this insight is therefore essential.
Delivering relevant and competitive pricing can be achieved using a global IPPN solution. This is a quick-fix for the long-term, moving brands out of the dark and helping them to make clear business decisions. Gaining accurate, realistic, region-specific insight in this way will help brands maintain their competitive edge and will promote open, transparent data-gathering across an open, transparent internet.
By Or Lenchner