The Power of Web Scraping For Price Comparison

Scraping Robot
July 28, 2021
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Web Scraping For Price Comparison

Table of Contents

Imagine that it’s a hot summer day in mid-July and you’re standing on a beach searching for somewhere to buy ice cream. We’ve all been there. There are only two vendors on the beach this day. You notice that one is selling its cones at $3, while the other is selling at $5. You ask around and realize that the vendors are selling exactly the same product, just at different prices. The ice cream itself, the location, and consumer sentiment are all the same. You would choose to purchase the $3 cone, right?

This simple situation is a powerful illustration of why price comparison is so important in business. Consumers are constantly trying to find the best price for their goods and services without having to compromise on quality. Years ago, people had to do this manually, monitoring all the relevant selling platforms on a daily (and sometimes even hourly) basis.

Then, price comparison websites were born. These sites extract prices, reviews, and descriptions from many different sources so that the consumer doesn’t have to. If you and your business are not yet in the price comparison game, then it’s time for you to jump in — or else face falling behind in both the market and the eyes of the consumer.

If you already know the basics of product scrapers and how to compare prices online, you may want to use the table of contents to navigate the article and move to the sections that you find the most useful.

What Is Price Data?

Believe it or not, price data includes a lot more than just the price of specific products. Price data is any information that can be collected from an online store, including

  • the prices of competitors’ products
  • sale/discount prices
  • price histories of products
  • product descriptions
  • product reviews

Once these data points have been identified, they can then be extracted from the e-commerce store and used by data scientists to make data-based decisions. This process can add an immense amount of value to an organization or business, allowing them to gain key insights into the market and their consumers.

What Is Price Scraping?

Web scraping is the automatic process of collecting and extracting data from a webpage. Price scraping is a subset of web scraping and is the use of software to extract pricing information and product data from e-commerce websites. The software, or scraper, accesses the online retail store in the same way that your web browser does. It then searches for and collects the information that you need and exports it to your preferred database (such as Excel).

This collection of relevant data makes it easy for you to make well-informed and data-backed decisions for your business.

Benefits of Price Comparison Web Scraping

Web scraping can help you better understand your customers and open up your business up to an unlimited number of benefits, some of which are mentioned below.

  • Monitoring competitors’ prices. Keeping track of your competitors’ movements is vital to staying one step ahead of them. Is your competitor selling significantly more of a product that is very similar to yours? Find out what they did right and capitalize on it. Have they just increased their prices in anticipation of a holiday or big event? Increase your prices as well, but continue to keep yours below theirs. By setting lower-than-average prices in the marketplace without compromising on quality, you will be sure to attract price-sensitive customers and bargain hunters. Strategies such as these can make all the difference.
  • Finding the price that optimizes sales. Finding the perfect balance of price, profit, and quality can sometimes seem like you’re standing on a tightrope six miles above the sea (which, of course, is filled to the brim with man-eating sharks). The wrong price can easily cause you and your business to fall into the depths. Directly mirroring competitors’ prices could lead to a price war, and just blindly guessing can cause sales to plummet. To find the right price, you need to understand and be able to predict how your customers react to price changes. Price comparison web scraping allows you to do just that. Track how customers are reacting to changes in your competitors’ prices or tweak your own prices and monitor how it affects sales. Optimizing prices also requires information such as customer demographics, historical sales data, behavior data, and much more, all of which can be acquired through web scraping.
  • Updating your product. Scraping product descriptions and reviews from your competitors’ online stores can help you to find that sweet spot between quality and price. It is a well-known fact that cheaper products are often due to the use of cheaper materials and fewer labor and development costs. This is all fine and good, but what if your customers notice the decline in quality? Will the lower prices be enough compensation for them? These questions can all be answered through price scraping, which allows you to scrape product descriptions and identify openings for cheaper costs and materials.

Price scraping also allows you to capitalize on your competitors’ failings and learn from their success. By tracking their product reviews, you can better understand the wants and needs of your own customers.

How to Use a Price Comparison Web Scraper

Step 1: Pinpoint the competition

Price scraping is rendered virtually useless if you aren’t sure who your competitors are. In the same way that an ice cream vendor is not concerned with the price of a lampshade from Target, so should you not be concerned with the pricing data of online retailers that are not your direct competitors.

No software can identify your competition for you. Even though they are selling the same product, would a part-time ice cream vendor in California be concerned about the price of an ice cream cone in Paris? Definitely not. Factors such as location and quality need to be taken into account, and only then can you combine your knowledge of the industry with your common sense and make a list of businesses that offer a similar (or the same) product to yours.

Step 2: Scrape the relevant pricing and product data

Now that you’ve identified the competition, you can move on to scraping the data from their online stores. For this, you will need some kind of price scraping tool. Of course, you could also code your own web scraping tool from scratch. This would require you to use a coding language such as Python or R, as well as have to deal with things like proxy and server management, blocks, browser scaling, CAPTCHA solving, and more. This could give even the most seasoned data scientist a headache.

This is where we can help. Scraping Robot’s API is a ready-made scraping tool designed and used by experts, offering a product scraper and price comparison. This tool gives you access to large amounts of developer-level data and allows you to scrape any page on the web with ease. Go to your competitors’ online stores and copy all the URLs where they are selling a product that is in competition with yours. Input these full URLs into the system and watch as it provides you with the full HTML output. It’s as simple as that.

Our users also get 5,000 free scrapes a month, meaning that you can try out this system right now, completely for free! With our expert tools and guidance, you’ll find that price scraping has never been easier.

Step 3: Export the data

The main reason for using a price comparison web scraper in the first place is so that you can analyze the data that it extracts. It is therefore very important that the data is exported to a database that works for you. If you don’t understand the exported data, then it is useless. Excel and CSV are the easiest databases to read, although there are many more for you to choose from.

Step 4: Analyze the data

So, you’ve identified your competitors, used a price scraping tool, and extracted the data to a database that you understand. Now for the most important step: analyzing the data that was collected. It is important that you really take the time to gain as much knowledge as you can from the data that you have. This knowledge will help you to properly price your products and tailor your target audience so that you always have a competitive advantage. You can even track market, price, and demand trends and use these to forecast the future sales climate. The possibilities are truly endless!

Are you still confused and not sure how web scraping price comparison can aid in the growth of your organization? Does scraping using an API or automated scraping tool not work for your needs or those of your organization? Feel free to contact Scraping Robot to submit custom work or to make any queries. Let us take all of the hassle out of the scraping process so that you can focus on what matters most: collecting valuable pricing data!

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that using web scraping for price comparison should be an integral part of any online business. With thousands of e-commerce stores launched every week, it is vital that your organization stay up to date on competitors’ prices in order to always remain one step ahead. Using a ready-made scraping tool like Scraping Robot’s API makes it easy for you to monitor competitors’ prices, find the perfect price point, enhance your product, and optimize sales. The only question now: what are you waiting for? Get started with price comparison web scraping today, and watch your sales skyrocket.

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