Price scraping is a technique where you collect price data of the same product via different resources or websites, usually e-commerce.
Price scraping can be done manually by a computer user, but the term usually refers to automated processes implemented with code that makes GET requests to the target site.
How Does Price Scraping Work?
A typical price scraping process consists of the following steps:
Target URLs are identified.
If the website being crawled for data collection uses anti-parsing tools, then the parser selects a suitable proxy server to get a new IP address through which it sends its request. If necessary, a captcha-solving service is used.
GET/POST requests are sent to the targeted URLs and the required data is in the HTML code now.
The data is converted into the desired format.
The collected information is transferred to the selected data storage.
The data is exported in the required format for further processing.
Who Carries Out Price Scraping and Why?
Not only you may be interested in the prices of your competitors; your competitors themselves may be interested in your prices and products. Most retailers use price scraping to keep track of other brands, including yours.
What's more important, by monitoring your prices, competitors can lower them at the same time as you. This way, they will attract your customers.
Do not forget about customers who always try to make the best deal and buy goods at a low price. They can also use price scraping and compare your brand with others.
How to Extract Your Competitors' Prices
First, you need to decide who your main competitors are. It won’t necessarily be all brands selling the same products as yours.
For example, say you sell jewelry, but not all jewelry stores will be your competitors. They may simply be brands that use similar designs or materials. You have to specify your competitors.
Then you can hire a person, a freelancer perhaps, who will be responsible for the technical part and do the scraping and parsing. Or you can research companies that offer price scraping software.
Tools for Price Scraping
You can entrust data collection to special scraping tools from Priceva. In particular, Competitor Price Monitoring regularly collects data and presents it in convenient tables and graphs.
This is a cloud-based online software service for competitor price monitoring and analyzing prices on the Internet. You can simply add competitors via links. The competitive price monitoring system can monitor any number of stores and competitors’ pricing.
In this case, you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a reliable person to do the scraping, because the specially designed system can automate all the work for you.
The Impact of Price Scraping in Retail
Timely and relevant data on competitive pricing will allow you to determine your strategy and promptly make adjustments to your pricing policy: re-evaluate your goods or services in a timely manner.
Collecting data on the availability of goods and their balances will provide an opportunity to quickly respond to gaps in your competitors’ assortment and increase sales of a similar product.
Competitor price scraping is an indispensable marketing tool for online retailers who need to monitor the market and quickly make changes to their websites. Scraping and price parsing are tools that will give you an answer to the question of who is selling what product and at what price.
How to Prevent Price Scraping
Price scraping, in addition to competitor analysis, can also be used for destructive purposes. This can pose a threat to online shopping sites, as some competitors may try to undermine their strategy and pricing.
To avoid scraping, you can use technologies such as WAFs. But they are not fully equipped to detect the newest generations of sophisticated scraper bots. Moreover, in-house bot management solutions have several downsides and, similarly, cannot keep pace with advanced botnets and their attack methods.
Businesses under regular scraping attacks are increasingly choosing to deploy a dedicated bot management solution to block bots that carry out scraping and other more serious attacks.
The value of price scraping in the modern era cannot be overestimated. Without this tool, it is impossible to imagine a company achieving any serious success.
And with the growing digitalization of all processes in the economy and society, the data-driven approach is increasingly being used. With this approach, business process optimization and strategic decisions are made based on collecting data and subsequently processing it using analytical tools.
According to a popular new expression, data is the new oil, in which case scraping is an oil well. Whoever owns it controls the situation and gets the most out of it.
Is scraping unethical?
Data that is collected through scraping is in the public domain; scraping just makes it easier to collect this information. So, price scraping is quite ethical and, moreover, necessary for a successful business.
Is price scraping Legal?
Yes, price scraping is completely legal, again, because the collected data is not private personal information; it is public information to which all Internet users have access.
What are the benefits of price scraping?
Efficient data management: Using automated scraping software allows you to collect huge amounts of data, build highly accurate predictions, and conduct high-quality analyses.
Data accuracy: Human error is often a problem when doing work manually, which can lead to serious errors and bad decisions later on, and data extraction automation is critical to the accuracy and relevance of any kind of information collected.
Speed: Routine processes that a person would do for weeks take a matter of hours or even minutes for software. The speed of data collection by the parser depends on the complexity of the projects being implemented, the availability of resources, and the capabilities of the technologies involved.
What are the challenges of price scraping?
When analyzing prices, if you do it manually, you can face problems such as lack of access to the right data, wasting a lot of time, difficulty in identifying competitors, or analyzing the wrong competitors. By automating the scraping process, you solve almost all of these problems.
Is price scraping only used by large organizations?
No, price scraping software is not only used by large organizations. This tool is also available for regular retailers because, firstly, price analysis in e-commerce is now necessary, and secondly, these scraping services are now quite affordable for both large and small businesses.
What is an example of price scraping?
Let's say you have a small online jewelry store. You need data about your competitors to analyze the market and respond in a timely manner to price drops. You choose a few stores that you think are competing with you, and you pass this list of competitors on to Competitor Price Monitoring. Next, the program collects data from these stores and transfers this data to you in the form of tables and charts.