Liaison Debuts BTB Price-Tracking Software

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Liaison Technology Inc. next week expects to introduce the Dexter Price Tracker, software designed to allow online marketers to automatically and continuously monitor product prices on other business Web sites.


The Price Tracker, the company's first product, uses patent-pending recognition technology to extract pricing data from multiple Web sites and convert it into information that can be imported into any business application for analysis.


"It allows people in e-commerce businesses to proactively monitor their competitors, make better pricing decisions for their products and track how their competitors react when they make pricing changes," said Susan LaValley, director of marketing at Liaison, Austin, TX.


Target customers include not only those wanting to track the pricing of competitors, but purchasing and merchandising decision-makers shopping for the best online price.


Using Dexter Price Tracker with a Web browser, the marketer visits other e-commerce Web sites, navigates through product pages and highlights the data to be monitored. Finally, the user enters the product descriptions or manufacturer numbers of the products to be tracked.


"The marketers have to go through this whole process only once," said LaValley. "Right now, they do it manually every day."


Once the information is entered, the software goes out and checks the sites for price changes on a schedule set up by the user.


The company said its product is not dependent on any data interchange stand-ards and does not require cooperation from online marketers. It also adapts to normal Web-page changes.


Liaison charges users a monthly subscription fee of $2,000 for tracking 50,000 product prices and $4,000 for tracking 1 million. Dell Computer Corp., pcOrder, Staples and online pharmacy More.com are beta-testing the Dexter Price Tracker.


"Our biggest competitors right now are human beings because people are still tracking prices manually or by writing programs," LaValley said.
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