How Do Web Scrapers Enhance Pricing Software?
In recent years, there has been rapid expansion in both the tools and services offering data for businesses with web scraping (also referred to as ‘data scraping’ in some circles) to use in formulating their pricing strategies. There has been a dramatic increase in both the number of requests for web scraping services and the diverse ways that data is used in used in the pricing industry. In that technology-rich environment, we thought it is high time we clarified the web scraping process, and that we addressed how web scraping can enhance your pricing software solution.
At Pricefx, helping organizations optimize their pricing software for the best possible results is a huge part of what we do. As part of that process, it means keeping up to date with the latest developments around web scraping and answering customer requests and questions about web scraping when they arise.
But first, a disclaimer.
At Pricefx, we do not data scrape or provide web scraping services ourselves.
However, we do work closely with skilled and ethical professionals who are expert in web scaping. Some members of the Pricefx Advantage Partner Network are experienced web scrapers, such as tgndata among others.
So, let’s get started by drilling down into more detail what web scraping entails before going on to explain how the process can potentially enhance your pricing software use and outcomes.
What is Web Scraping Exactly?
Web scraping refers to the extraction of data from any open source (including a website).
The information is collected and then exported into a format that is more useful for the user, such as a spreadsheet or an API that can be used in integration with your pricing software.
Why Use Web Scraping?
In competitive commercial business environments, a large amount of scraped data can be used for pricing and product analysis. Many large-scale enterprise companies and data scientists will use web scraping to extract data needed to help them make pricing decisions. It allows them to gather the precise data that they need to uncover new business opportunities (or favorable business conditions they never knew they had), product development and market research (by tracking the prices of their competitors).
You can scrape the details, like price, stock, rating, etc., covering various data fields to monitor the change of your goods and services. The scraped data sets can further help pricing teams to evaluate the potential value and other significant pricing decisions.
Is Web Scraping Automatic or Manual?
Although web scraping can be performed manually, in many cases, automated tools are preferred when scraping web data as they can be less costly and work at a faster rate.
The Top 3 Ways Web Scraping Enhances Pricing Software
With web scraping, it’s now possible to access data on a range of your competitor’s products and practices such as pricing, inventory lists and other data that pertains to your market. Web scrapers can collate this data for you by scraping prices and products names from your competitors but there is a lot more to it than that.
However, you should be aware, web scraping might not suit every business type or industry sector. Hotels, airlines, and online retail stores are big users of web scraping, but they’re no longer alone as the practice starts to spread its wings across non-traditional industry sector boundaries.
Let’s check out the top 3 ways you can enhance your pricing with web scraping;
1. Competitor-Based Pricing
If you want to create a competitive pricing strategy, you will need to track your competitors’ prices, see how they change and what strategies they follow. Keeping track of your competitors’ prices is critical for understanding the minimum and maximum stretch points of your pricing corridor. To do that, you’ll need a price monitoring strategy in order to follow all that’s happening.
Web scraping your competitors’ pricing on a regular basis can ensure that you have a fresh pricing data set (But remember, the data is only fresh for a short time. Snoozing on the same set of competitors’ data for any length of time can result in that data ‘turning bad’ and bam! Suddenly, margin leakage could sneak in to affect your company’s bottom line).
Waiting for your competitors to price, while you are trying to achieve a competitive edge in the market could also be a mistake.
Monitoring their prices daily or at least several times per week will give you the best opportunity to stay a pricing step ahead and enable you to overcome pricing obstacles like;
- Competition in online businesses happens in real-time – In certain industries, prices are being changed every day. In fact, there are even some industries, where prices change even more frequently than once per day.
- Remaining proactive regarding competitors’ pricing – If you work with a web scraping service that does online price scraping for you it will save you time and resources. Generally, web scraping companies can provide you with fresh alerts and reports on competitors’ product prices as often as you need to.
- Price dynamics visibility – Price tracking daily will provide visibility literally on how prices change over time. You can regularly track how your competitors react to your prices or the trends and strategies they adopt in response to your pricing and your industry overall. (We’ll discuss more on dynamic pricing shortly).
- Tracking competitors more often than they track you – Depending on your company’s industry sector, many businesses don’t understand the value of competitor price tracking on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, some business in your sector (unless you’re in online retail) may not do any tracking at all. Consequently, if you are doing any competitor price monitoring at all on a regular basis, you are probably ahead of the game.
Competitor Pricing & Inventory Management
While tracking your competitor’s prices, you can also get additional data that will help you improve your inventory management.
For example, by scraping prices and products, you can discover when a product’s price becomes higher or lower in the market, which months or seasons a product gets sold out the most, discover when competitors stock new items more often etc.
And by identifying these trends and patterns, you can order your products from suppliers in advance.
This way, you will remove any bottlenecks and hiccups from your supply chain and improve inventory management.
By combining your web scraping with a quality pricing software product, you’ll know which products you need to stock, how to strategically price your inventory and how to improve your supply chain management.
The best outcome for competitor price monitoring will be to outmaneuver your competition and make more sales.
2. Dynamic Pricing
In the past, dynamic pricing was based on a retrospective analysis of sales data. Pricing systems simply forecasted market demands for the future by observing seasonal or cyclical trends. However, fast forward to the present day and web scraping empowers powerful pricing software tools that can fulfill the demand of complicated business environments. And the quality of the data produced through the scraping process is what makes the pricing insights of your software as deep and astute as possible.
For online purchases and inquiries, you’ll be able to respond to prices based on who is looking at your products, when and how often they may have looked at them in the past and from which IP address/es they used to track down and view your prices. This allows your company to be proactive and regularly adjust your pricing in response to real-time demand, supply, and other competitor benchmarks.
Simply put: With these types of data-informed decisions, you’ll be up to date in your pricing if the prices start moving upward or downward. Based on these movements, you’ll be able to make your analysis and set a business strategy that takes the pricing trends into account.
Today, data acquisition and the readiness and cleanliness of it is the most important part of empowering your pricing software with web scraping to enable dynamic pricing, mostly for online retail and other B2C companies although not exclusively. The B2B sector is currently undergoing changes that see it beginning to resemble B2C in many regards.
Some companies choose to allocate large teams of developers, system administrators, and data analysts in order to build data acquisition tools and web scraping can be a critical component of the data acquisition toolbox.
3. Value-Based Pricing
Setting up prices for your goods, services and solutions is never easy. However, web scraping can be a useful tool for determining value points for your products and how much your clients are willing to pay. With value-based pricing, the challenge is to find the perfect balance where you can increase your profit and charge your customers for what you truly know your products to be worth, and not to lose customers to your competitors.
You should know that your customers are willing to pay more for a product if they see value in it. And in order to gain that value, you will require to improve your products and/or additional services to a point where your competitors recognize the additional value.
Web scraping can assist you in locating your points of value and customer’s willingness to pay by;
- Scraping customer information and gaining insights on how to enhance their satisfaction by making tweaks in your marketing strategies.
- Doing research into what prices your customers are prepared to pay for similar and less valuable products with your competitors.
That will provide you with an opportunity to create a value-based pricing strategy.
And since the market is not static, your pricing should fluctuate as per the changes to maximize the profits.
Your value points will not remain static either.
Now I Know How Web Scraping Can Bring Value – Where Can I Access it?
With web scraping, you can also keep track of changes in promotional events and market prices regularly. However, if your products are premium ones, you can still have them fluctuating but priced slightly above that of your competitors because you know that your customers will continue to see the value in them.
Be wary of falling into the trap of consistently competitive pricing at or below the prices of your competitors. Do that, and your customers may cease to see your products’ value, and that can be the biggest profit margin killer of all.
Now you are a web scraping expert armed with the information of how it works and know the top 3 ways that web scraping can enhance your pricing software.
But unless your company has sufficient internal IT knowledge, time, and resources, or you have previous web scraping knowledge on a commercial scale, then you will be looking to work with an expert web scraping partner. Check out this link to learn more about the Advantage Pricefx Partner Network, and locate a web scraping partner for your needs, or alternatively see this article below to find out more about selecting the right pricing software partner for your business;
On the other hand, if you already have your web scraping needs under control and you are looking to stay one step ahead and adopt meaningful pricing insights with your extracted data, then check out the article below that takes you through choosing the right pricing software for your company’s unique needs;
About the Author
As a pricing professional, Sara-Marie Gansert has been supporting companies across various industries to improve their margins by finding and realizing the right pricing strategies.
Now working as a Solution Strategist for Pricefx she introduces businesses to pricing software tailored to master their individual challenges in pricing.
On the weekends you will find her hiking in the Black Forest, exploring the cities of Europe, or enjoying a good book.