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Changing sku to avoid competition

pricing competition, sku change

3:15 pm on Mar 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We used to enjoy not having that many competitors, until around 2013. Now we have about 6 on-line competitors that seem to want to low ball their prices to get the sale.
As all of you know, that is a quick fight to the bottom. We are considering changing the sku for these super popular items. We sell parts for machinery. People search for the brand and the model number of their unit, then they find the part. They typically have no clue what the part number is until the go to a site like ours to find it. If they come to our site first, we want to have a unique part number that they cannot re-search on the web and find some Amazon or Ebay seller giving the part away at 10% over cost. We are NOT going to win on cost if we use the popular part number. There is no way in hell that I am going to have a race to the bottom, nor can I afford to lose that much margin. In the past, when we have put something on sale to try and beat the competition, we don't sell enough of the product to make it worth or while. We would have been better off selling it for the higher price and netting more actual dollars.

Has anyone tried this before, and if so, with what results?
3:33 pm on Mar 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A few things to consider

1- anyone looking specifically for the part number will no longer see results from your site. So be sure that people are not searching for parts based on the part number.
2- assuming the parts are being searched by a set of criteria, {dimension, material, function} if you keep all the search criteria the same as your competitor except the sku (which is not being used) then your site as equally likely to be included as your competitors. So it is unlikely to make much of a difference. Except that when the buyer see the price difference and sku difference they may wonder which is correct. This may work in your favor, but maybe not, you will need to have a selling point to make up the difference eg: genuine parts.
3- Is the actual sku on the parts or packaging? If you up sell the customer, then send him the same part as from the cheaper source you have yourself a big problem.
4:03 pm on Mar 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 12, 2006
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The parts that we sell are OEM parts in the original container with the OEM part number on it.
There are only a few lines that we sell that Amazon, Zorro or Ebay has not gotten on the bandwagon.
Customers in my industry typically don't know that part number at first, until they start searching.
We pride ourselves on giving our customers a great buying experience and support after the sale, yet in our industry, repair items, most of our customers are 1 time customers; they fix their equipment and move on.