Product pricing is one of the essential factors that determine business success. To compete favorably with your competitors, you must know their prices. However, it’s a tedious task to manually collect all that information, especially if you have thousands of competitors. That’s where price scraping comes in.
Industries that typically use this strategy include hospitality/travel, finance, and e-commerce. This is because many new entrepreneurs are setting up similar businesses, and their prices keep changing daily, so the competition is tight.
Let’s face it, most consumers are price sensitive. They will get onto the web to compare prices before making any buying decisions. Naturally, they’ll go for the lowest price, so you must stay ahead of the game to give them the best offer. If you would like to dig in deeper in easier price scraping – check out this fun explanatory website for more information, if running over the topic is enough – keep scrolling.
What is Price Scraping?
Price scraping is the automatic process of extracting price information from competitor websites, using a web crawler or a bot.
This process will help you to develop an effective pricing strategy. You’ll be able to monitor your competitor’s prices daily with the latest data. An effective pricing strategy is not merely about decreasing your prices but more about optimizing them.
Price Scraping Process
There is a variety of automated web scraping tools on the market, and each of them has a specific way in which it scrapes prices. However, let’s look at the easy, general process of price scraping.
List Your Competitors
Before starting the scraping process, you must know who your competitors are. Without this information, your efforts will be fruitless. For example, if your business deals in budget handbags, then a designer handbag brand is not an ideal competitor.
Scan the industry and find out what businesses have similar characteristics to yours. You can extract this data by researching on social media and other platforms. It will be helpful to identify industry keywords and core product names to discover all your competitors.
This process will provide you with a detailed list which you should group separately based on specific factors like:
- Those selling at prices close to yours
- Those offering similar products to yours
- Those selling to the same market group
Such a comprehensive analysis will make it easy to extract the data you need.
Choose a Reliable Scraping Tool
Scraping this data on your own will be difficult, so you’ll need a scraping tool. These generally work with bots by instructing them to scrape price data from your competitors. Companies dedicated to providing this service will help you save time while providing accurate and reliable results.
They also inform you about any price changes in the market through monitoring. Some companies lack the price monitoring aspect, which is critical to accessing the latest and most reliable information.
Let’s say you increase your prices in June to match your competitors, then all of a sudden in July your sales plummet. They may have lowered their prices and are taking over the market.
But you don’t know for sure because you’re not monitoring prices. Make sure you do thorough research to find a reliable solution that matches your requirements.
It’s time to start scraping the data. Apply your web crawler/bot to crawl your competitors’ data. The web crawler works by browsing the links you have provided and selecting relevant data.
This data will be based on product prices, product descriptions, product catalog, and other vital factors. Keep in mind that the more data you scrape, the longer the process will take, so decide wisely to save time while extracting only relevant data.
Format Your Data
Newly extracted data will look like gibberish. You need to format it so that it’s easy to understand. Although manual formatting is an option, it will take a much longer time. A more efficient option would be contracting a service that provides extraction and data formatting together.
Such services will provide you with a list of data formatted as XML, JSON, or CSV. Go with the format that makes data storage and analysis easy for you.
Export the Formatted Data
This is the final and most crucial step in the price scraping process. A large amount of data will require you to use an efficient storage system. A great option would be a third-party storage system for data safety and security.
It’s also essential to use a cloud service with such an amount of data. You’ll be able to access it from anywhere at any time. The critical factor to look out for when choosing a storage system is security.
These steps will help you simply collect relevant price data in a short time. Businesses that use price scraping have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
When you access the data, you can adjust your prices based on what your competitors are charging. You’ll be able to provide unique offers to your website visitors, boost sales, and get ahead of your competition.