September 7, 2023
Price scraping is the automated process of collecting price data from online sources. While the fundamental idea is similar to the old-fashioned method of checking prices by visiting websites (eye-balling), automation is a game-changer. Here's how you can use it:
The official definition of price scraping is as follows: Price scraping, or web scraping for pricing data, is the act of extracting information from websites to gather data about product prices, availability, and other pertinent details. However, this definition can be misleading. If you assign 5-10 managers to manually check competitors' websites and input their findings into an Excel spreadsheet, is that price scraping? Clearly not. The term “scraping” primarily refers to the use of automated tools, codes, and software to gather price and product-related data. It's a tech-driven activity, not a human one.
Pricing data is crucial for strategic decisions regarding stock, promotions, and sales enhancement. According to Deloitte, "Data-backed price management initiatives can yield significant short-term results: a 2%-7% increase in business margins and a 200-350% average growth in ROI over 12 months."
Especially in uncertain times, pricing becomes a hot topic. A recent McKinsey report reveals that most European shoppers are price-sensitive and routinely compare prices before making a purchase. Consequently, possessing timely pricing data gives a competitive edge to businesses that can adjust their pricing strategies based on competitors' moves.
This question is paramount for both developers of web scraping tools and their users. Generally, if the data is public (like most pricing data), it's legal to collect it using automated tools. However, scraping data from sites protected by login credentials, where you've agreed to terms and conditions, may pose legal challenges. Always review and respect such terms.
Technical price scraping involves several steps:
• Website Selection: Choose the websites from which you want to scrape data. Review their terms of service to ensure legality.
• Select a Scraping Tool: Numerous tools are available. Depending on your proficiency and needs, you can opt for Python libraries, browser extensions like Octoparse and DataMiner, or specialised software.
• Data Collection: Typically, scraping tools collect data such as product pricing, descriptions, barcodes, sizes/colours, availability, ratings, brand names, etc.
• Data Storage and Analysis: Store the scraped data for further analysis, which can aid in monitoring price trends, spotting competitive pricing strategies, and refining your pricing.
• Web Scraping: This is a broader activity that extracts various data types from websites, such as text or images. It serves myriad purposes beyond just pricing.
• Price Scraping: This specifically targets pricing information. However, in eCommerce, it often extends beyond just the price. Details like product availability, shipping info, VAT, ratings, etc., are also crucial.
Web scrapers often grapple with data quality issues, often stemming from human errors. For instance, products can be mislabelled or omitted entirely. Using rudimentary scraping tools can yield errors similar to manual data collection, making accuracy elusive.
A robust way to navigate these challenges is to leverage advanced search technologies that forgo traditional scraping techniques. These tools not only provide real-time competitor price tracking but also insights into discounts, product availability, descriptions, shipping conditions, and customer reviews. Factors like delivery times and product reviews significantly influence buying decisions. For instance, our research suggests that 80% of customers check delivery times and are willing to pay a premium for faster delivery. Moreover, positive product reviews can justify higher prices in customers' minds, even for identical products.
Aimondo Price Monitoring offers these features and more.
Step-by-step guide on maintaining high profitability in retail.