Leading Sports Brand Cracks Competitor Pricing as AI Tool Reveals Loss Leader Strategy in Weeks

A $5 billion sportswear giant faced a perplexing challenge. They knew that one of their biggest competitors was offering a product at a price point that seemed impossibly low. Their team had been meticulously analyzing every aspect of their production process – from sourcing materials to negotiating with suppliers – in an attempt to match this competitive pricing. Despite their efforts, the goal remained elusive.

The company turned to Sourcing Playground for a fresh perspective and advanced competitive analysis.


  1. Competitor offering a product at an impossibly low price point
  2. Internal efforts to match this pricing through production analysis unsuccessful
  3. Fresh perspective and innovative competitive analysis needed to solve this pricing puzzle

Our Approach

Harnessing the Power of AI and Big Data

Sourcing Playground tackled this challenge with a multi-faceted approach:

  • Primary Research: We conducted in-depth discussions with the company’s teams to pinpoint their exact needs and identify the most critical information gaps.
  • Secondary Research: We delved into market intelligence, gathering comprehensive data on competitors’ operations.
  • Custom Tool Development: We built a bespoke tool capable of conducting competitor analysis at the product level.
  • AI-Powered Data Analysis: We developed a cutting-edge AI interface to analyze vast amounts of market intelligence data, including millions of shipment records.
  • Intelligent Product Identification: Our AI was trained to recognize and categorize products from unstructured data, a task that had never been successfully automated before.

Pushing the Boundaries
of AI Application

The core challenge lay in processing and analyzing millions of shipment records to extract meaningful insights. Traditional methods fell short, so we turned to AI as a potential solution. However, this presented its own set of challenges:

  • Unstructured Data: Shipment records contained messy product descriptions which needed to be decoded and matched to specific products.
  • AI Training: We had to develop and refine our AI models to accurately identify product references and SKUs within these complex descriptions.
  • Data Volume: Processing millions of records required innovative approaches to data handling and analysis.

Through extensive experimentation and iterative improvements, we successfully trained our AI to identify specific products and SKUs within the unstructured data. This breakthrough allowed us to unlock competitor pricing insights at an unprecedented level of detail.

The Solution

A Revolutionary Competitive Intelligence Tool

Our solution provided the company with:

  • Detailed competitor pricing information down to the SKU level
  • Insights into suppliers, shipping dates, and ports used by competitors
    A user-friendly interface allowing easy access to this wealth of data
  • The ability to match competitor products with images, retail prices, and detailed descriptions

This tool empowered costing teams with precise, actionable intelligence about their competitive landscape.


Strategic Insights and Operational Efficiency

 Our solution delivered transformative results

Strategic Insight

The company discovered that their competitor was using a loss leader strategy, pricing the product at cost. This insight validated their own pricing strategy and informed future product decisions.

Confidence in Pricing

The company gained confidence on their factories’ pricing, eliminating uncertainty and saving time on unnecessary price negotiations.

Operational Efficiency

Months of analysis work and uncertainty solved in just a few weeks, with ongoing insights available instantaneously.

High-Level Recognition

The insights generated by our tool are now used at the CFO level, elevating the profile of the team that engaged us.

Ongoing Monitoring

Teams now uses this tool quarterly to ensure their factory pricing remains competitive, allowing them to reallocate resources to other strategic initiatives.

Long-Term Impact

Regular price monitoring ensures ongoing competitiveness

Reduced time spent on cost optimization allows for focus on other strategic areas

Client Feedback

“Working with Sourcing Playground you always get individual attention and solutions specifically tailored to meet your exact needs. Its enabled more impactful conversations with our supply base, focusing our limited resources on needle-moving initiatives. You work directly with their experts to build tools and solutions together, which is extremely refreshing after spending many years dealing with other service providers’ sales teams and canned reporting.”

Senior Director of Global Costing