Life – and business – is one choice after another. Here’s one more: What do you prefer, a fresh latte (that yummy blend of espresso and steamed milk) or access to an eCommerce tool that could quickly and easily research an entire supplier catalog? After all, they’re going to cost you about the same amount of money.

Intrigued by this little contrived dilemma, but want to know more before making your choice? A latte is pretty delicious, after all. Let’s break down some of the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Buy the Latte, Do Research Manually

Conducting research is an important part of running a successful business, since it can help you better understand your customers, competitors and the market in general. This time investment is also necessary so that you can get information about products before you decide to stock them.

Unfortunately, it’s very time-consuming to manually perform SKU research. Even if you hire someone to help with this task, it’s less efficient (and less accurate) and ultimately adds to your costs.

If you take the manual approach and find yourself bleary-eyed and frustrated after investigating several hundred SKUs, at least you’ll have “saved” the few dollars it would have cost to use eComSpy, our market research tool. And what does that latte cost anyway? About $3.50 on average in the U.S. Well, at least you can still sip on that nice, warm drink for comfort, right? That’s a bonus!

Make Your Own Coffee, Get Automated

On the other hand, you could try eComSpy. It’s ridiculously easy to use, but don’t be fooled – it’s powerful and can save you a lot of time and money. Instead of having to do everything by hand, all you have to do is create a .CSV file containing the ASINs, EANs or UPCs and upload it to the tool.

When the report is complete, you’ll receive an email directing you to review the results within eComSpy. Alternatively, you can download the .CSV file to your computer. You’ll be able to sort data, find products with good margins and size up the competition. Does it get easier than that?

Sure, you might have to brew your own coffee to spend those few dollars on eComSpy instead, but think of all the time you will save!

Buy the Latte, Keep Guessing

If you’ve ever done market research, you will know how tedious it is. Once you’ve compared 10 SKUs, you feel ready to give up. It might even be tempting to avoid it entirely, but without this valuable information, it will be difficult to glean insight about products and competitors, adding to your uncertainty. But you’ve got great instincts, right?

Still, by choosing to continue to spend on your fancy coffee, you might be committing yourself to more guesswork which could leave your business vulnerable. True enough, taking risks is part of being an entrepreneur, but how exposed do you want to be? Are you still unwilling to reduce your hot beverage budget?

Skip the Coffeehouse, Gain Confidence

Who wouldn’t want to feel more confident in the decisions they are making for their business? It can be so intimidating to choose which products to add to your inventory while simultaneously reassuring yourself that you’re spending money to make money.

One of the most important things you can do is learn how to invest wisely. By putting money towards a tool such as eComSpy, you will be armed with knowledge about a product’s overall price, potential profit margins, how much it weighs and an analysis of your competitors.

All that and you can still have a fresh cup of joe waiting for you in the morning, in your own kitchen.

Better Value for Your Money

At the end of the day, savvy business owners know that time is money and efficiency is key. While you might think that hitting the drive-thru every morning saves you time, you’re actually spending dollars that could be better used elsewhere.

Here’s how it works: Rather than committing to a monthly subscription plan, eComSpy gives you the flexibility of buying credits only when you need them. Conducting a search, including competitor analysis, on one item takes just a single credit and credits are valid for a full calendar year from the day you bought them.

You can choose from three levels, Starter, Pro and Ultimate, with the Starter plan including 10,000 credits for $100. (That breaks down to a penny per credit!) In other words, you can research a 350-SKU catalog for the price of that latte. You’ll pay even less with the larger plans, because the prices drop even more.

We’re so convinced you’ll love eComSpy that we’ll give you 100 free credits to help you get started. It’s risk-free (no credit card number required) and easy to sign up – all you need is your MWS information and you’re ready to go!

Or… you could keep spending those pennies on a latte. It’s totally up to you.

Colleen Quattlebaum

As the Business Development Manager for eComEngine, Colleen Quattlebaum is committed to helping Amazon Sellers succeed. Colleen reviews the latest market trends and strategizes on how to improve eComEngine’s offerings, so she can pass that insight and value on to Amazon merchants.