You already know that you need to pay careful consideration to how you price your products. With hundreds of e-commerce stores being launched every single day, it’s imperative you stay on top and set competitive prices against your competition.
But how do you know what prices they’re charging?
What if you have 250 competitors?
Are you supposed to go to each retailer one at a time and document their prices?
Of course not, that would be far too time-consuming and take away from the other important work you need to do.
The solution is e-commerce price scraping.
In this post, we’re going to look at what price scraping is, what tools you need to do it, as well as some considerations for potential challenges you might encounter.
What is price scraping?
If you want to give price scraping a go, first know that you’ll need to have someone in your team who is technical or you’ll need to enlist the help of a technical person, perhaps a freelancer.
This technical person should be comfortable working with bots that they can train to scrape the data from your competitors.
Once you have access to your data, you’re able to adjust your prices in accordance with what they’re charging to make sure you always have a competitive advantage over your competition.
You could instruct a bot to crawl the prices just once and keep all the data in a spreadsheet.
However, the issue with this is it doesn’t account for price changes.
For example, if you increase your prices in December to match your competitors, and suddenly you realize that in January your sales fall, how do you know that they haven’t lowered their cost and as a result are taking over the market?
You don’t know because your price data is static from a one-time crawl.
How to extract your competitors’ prices
The first step to scraping your competitors’ prices is to find out who your competitors are in the first place.
If you sell flowers on your e-commerce site, then it makes no sense to scrape the data of a store that sells mattresses.
Think about who your closest competitors are.
If you’re selling budget t-shirts, then a designer t-shirt brand probably aren’t your closest competitor either.
So think about industry first and then think about people who have a similar offering to you.
Once you’ve researched all these stores, it’s time to start collecting the data.
Tools for web scraping
There are a number of tools but most often HTTrack or Scrapy can help you scrape websites in your target list.
Note that these tools generally require you to download their software before you start scraping.
Alternatively, if you don’t have access to bots, or are unable to use scraping tools, you could use a third-party SaaS solution like Prisync.
The benefit of using an out of the box solution is that it automatically tracks your competitors’ prices once you’ve determined which competitors you wanted to track. All you need to do is enter your competitor list with the product prices you want to track and let the software do the rest of the work.
What’s more, it stops you becoming perplexed by all the data.
Imagine you store all your data in a spreadsheet, to properly understand all the different visible prices, you’ll need to analyze the data you have and compare it to previous days, months or years.
To begin with, you’ll need to think carefully about the exact data you want to scrape. If you have 500 competitors, scraping everything on their website could cause difficulties in analyzing further down the line.
Second, once you have the data, you need to format it. You’ll find it difficult to analyze if it’s confusing to understand exactly what the data is saying.
As you can imagine, this would take some time and that time could be better spent working on other areas of growing your e-commerce business.
Using your extracted price data to increase profits
Once you’ve extracted your data, it’s time to start doing something with it. There’s no point extracting pricing data if you simply plan to look at it once and then never again.
Did you know that, if used in the right ways, your pricing data can help you improve your profits and your business
You want to keep a strong eye on the dynamic price across the industry. You already know that e-commerce prices are subject to change. There are various reasons why a price change could happen. Perhaps one store is running low on stock, perhaps a seasonal product is gaining more traction, closer to the holiday.
Whatever the cause is, you’ll be able to understand how it affects prices as you’ll have an up to date real-time view of your competition’s current prices.
You might be planning a Black Friday sale, but do you know when else your competitors will lower their prices?
Unless you check out their store daily, you can never be certain.
That’s why it’s important to track your competitors’ prices so you can keep up with whether they offer discounts and what those discounts are.
Once you’ve analyzed all your competitors’ prices and have made a note of the industry dynamic price, it’s time to either increase, decrease or keep your prices the same.
Whatever you decide, make sure you’re setting your prices in a way you can sustain, if your competitors suddenly drop all their prices and you can’t do the same without significantly harming your products, then don’t.
If your prices need to be kept the same, do so and find other ways to differentiate your business.
E-commerce scraping can be a beneficial way for you to gain insight into how your competitors are currently and historical marketing their products through price. You’ll be able to see when they offer significant discounts, see when they increase their prices and much more.
Price scraping is all about getting as much data about your competitors as possible in order to make informed decisions as to where to take your e-commerce store next.
However, if you do decide to track your competitors’ pricing. Don’t get too bogged down by it. It’s a dangerous game to change your prices every single time your competitor does as it can harm your own brand.
Instead, use their prices as a guideline and focus on building the best brand you can, knowing that your decisions are backed by real data.