Over a decade, price scraping has become a common practice. Everybody loves cheaper prices of any product if it is available on multiple platforms.
Let’s say you want to buy a laptop, you will search for it on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc. You will look for the cheapest price available for that laptop on these platforms and then buy it. This is what we do, right?
Now, you will think what is the role of web scraping when it comes to checking prices? Well, if you want to save some bucks then price scraping can help you with analyzing the cheapest possible price and it will also tell which platform is selling it so that you don’t have to open every single website & monitor it.
It can be done in three simple steps:
- Scrape that target product URL.
- Parse the data.
- Email yourself with the name of the cheapest provider and the price.
You can even analyze the data for a week by scraping and storing it in a CSV file. Then you can make a decision on the basis of dates on which prices are lower or got dropped.
Let’s see how businesses can benefit from price scraping.
Table of Contents
- 1 How businesses can use price scraping
- 2 Is Price Scraping even legal?
- 3 Best programming language for price scraping?
- 4 What are the best Price Scraping Tools?
- 5 Cost of price scraper
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 Additional Resources
How businesses can use price scraping
With the competition rising in online businesses, many suffer due to a lack of proper pricing strategy.
To gain a competitive advantage in the market you need to keep track of your competitors pricing. Monitoring 24*7 becomes mandatory when you want an edge over the others in your domain.
Using web scraping tools you will be able to scrape any website in no time. Various eCommerce, Travel, Finance, etc companies collect a tremendous amount of data from the web because they know in order to beat their competitors they have to access their competitor’s data.
The advantage of using web scraping tools is to provide you with a seamless data pipeline that will be able to handle all the blocks between you and the data.
How do travel companies get benefits from price scraping?
Travel companies use hotel rate shopping tool to get the prices of their competitors. Let us understand how this process works.
Let’s take the example of The Lenox hotel in Boston, USA, and consider the check-in date as 16 October 2022 and check-out as 17 October 2022. For booking this hotel there are many booking websites like Expedia, Hotels.com, HRS, Booking.com, etc.
Now, the guest will book it from the cheapest provider and that could be say Expedia. But because of big travel agencies, small agencies suffer due to lack of bookings.
To counter this, agencies use price comparison APIs to keep track of pricing offered by their competitors. In this competitive world, it becomes necessary to keep track of your niche market.
With pricing intelligence, you can set your own prices and can even generate discounts to ultimately gain more bookings.
How do ecommerce companies get benefits from price scraping?
Many individual eCommerce platforms deal with particular range of products. It could be clothes, supplements, sportswear, cosmetics, etc.
Now, there is a lot of competition in the market when it comes to any of these product line. To beat niche websites you will need market and pricing intelligence. Market intelligence will tell you about product insights and pricing intelligence will tell you what price you need to set in order to increase your revenue.
If your product is great but is not priced in line with the market then your product will not sell. It should always be about minimum features & maximum delivery.
Pricing will play a great role when it comes to the ecommerce industry.
How do finance companies get benefits from price scraping?
Financial companies use price scraping in stock analysis, market sentiment analysis, credit ratings, etc. Companies crawl stock prices in order to set an alert for buying or selling. They use web scraping tools to scrape news, search google search results, or social media website, etc in order to make judge market sentiments.
Big companies like Goldman Sachs, Fitch Ratings, etc use web scraping services to crawl over the internet to create reports on multiple financial decisions that governments around the world might have to take in the coming few years. They also crawl data for analyzing market moods.
Is Price Scraping even legal?
Well, the correct answer is yes but up to a certain extent. You can legally scrape publically available pages. Legal scraping can be:
- If the page is not behind an authentication wall.
- Does not include any private information of a user.
- Follow the rules of the robots.txt file.
- Do not overload the host server with unnecessary calls.
Recently Linkedin filed a case against a Singapore-based company Mantheos. This company was illegally selling LinkedIn member data to other companies.
They were also using the data for sentiment analysis. This is the perfect example of illegal scraping. You cannot go on scraping somebody’s private information and then sell it.
There are many cases like this in the past where the defendant also won. Like eBay vs Bidder’s Edge case, BE Inc was a price comparison website where they were crawling product prices from eBay (an online auction company) on a regular basis.
Later BE filed an appeal that if all the websites stopped scraping then the internet will cease to exist. This was an interesting case for scraping industry.
Best programming language for price scraping?
There are many languages for web scraping on the internet but personally, I prefer Python and Nodejs for price scraping.
Why Python & NodeJs you may ask?
They have great community support and on top of that, you get flexible library support too. I found Nodejs pretty fast as compared to python but python is more flexible than nodejs. You can use these libraries for price scraping with python:
If you are starting with Nodejs then use this:
If you are a beginner then you can start with python at first just to gain interest and then you can start with nodejs for heavy scraping jobs.
Read More: Web Scraping with Python 101.
What are the best Price Scraping Tools?
There are multiple web scraping tools available which can help you gather data. This will reduce your workload drastically as you won’t have to handle any proxy pools or have to face any captcha while scraping. Examples of some top notch tools are:
Cost of price scraper
Scrapingdog offers you 1000 free API calls and its basic plan starts from $20/month. You can also customize your plan. Checkout web scraping API pricing plans here.
To price scrape or not totally depends on your business needs. Doing it legitimately is the way to go! However, if you are new to scraping try to get a basic understanding of how it is done, know which data will be beneficial for you in the long run of your business.