How to Track Competitor Price with Web Scraping

Amazon has been dominating the game of price competition in the online marketplace. Obviously, the winner isn’t necessarily the one who possesses the lowest price point. However, if you’ve ever paid close attention, you will find Amazon has the most “reasonable” price to the extent that we don’t even bother to compare with the rest before making any purchase. As we’ve already cognitively confirmed there would be no other places that would offer us such a good price as Amazon does, we then get trained to commit whatever the deal has offered to us. What makes us so loyal? The answer is self-explanatory to most business owners – the power of consistent price tracking. Read along, you will learn how a web scraping tool can get fresh prices easily.

Table of Contents

About Price Tracking

Obstacles in Price Tracking

Best Practices with Faster Turnaround

Conclusions

Amazon has been keeping track of pricing from competitive marketplaces like Walmart. As soon as it finds out Walmart has the same or an even lower price for a certain item, Amazon is smart enough to undercut the competition immediately. Walmart definitely has a hard time catching up as their brick-and-mortar locations just simply don’t have the resources to adjust the pricing labels so frequently that make shoppers obfuscated. It turns out Amazon becomes the standard when we seek for best deals. What does Amazon teach us?

Obstacles in Price Tracking

Price tracking is not a secret. In fact, most of us did the same thing: secretly change the price when items are in lower demand. But we are talking about a more dynamic pricing strategy that can be implemented at a larger scale, meaning tracking product pricing data of millions of products and bringing actionable insights for your online business. However, ecommerce data procurement has its fair share of challenges that hinder us from taking advantages easily, which in fact also the reasons why most off-the-shelf solutions fail to practice the perfect: 

1. Hard to match

Product information is not universal. Things like title, description, and even SKUs can vary from store to store. Most price tracking solutions can only look after matching products and leave out items that can’t be identified, let alone tracking products at a large scale. That being said, you probably look at the same set of information as most others do. There’s no competitive edge left for you to stand out if you hold the same insights.

2. Time-sensitive

Amazon changes its price multiple times a day. In fact, far too many savvy retailers adjust their price points much more frequently than you are probably even unaware of. The price gets stale easily in the blink of an eye. How to keep up with the changes while still remaining competitive? 

3. Limited coverage to access full information

Most solutions only get you information from a popular marketplace like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. If you happen to be a stand-alone retailer with manufacturing networks, you are supposed to watch over the price and product from niche online marketplaces. In this case, a custom solution having you pick and decide where to get the data points is more ideal.

4. Long turnaround

No one wants to have a failing project on their hands. But in reality, many custom solutions take weeks to get ready. That results in project delays. The turnaround time usually pertains to the scope of required data and the complexity of the web structure. It won’t make any impact if the data is not time-sensitive, but that isn’t often the case in the realm of e-commerce.  

Best Practices for more flexibility with faster turnaround 

There’s no magic pill that can make these challenges disappear. But we can gear up to tackle these problems and scale up your business starting from web scraping

Known to most merchants, web scraping has a reputation for data extraction. It basically functions as a web crawler like Google but more practical as we can obtain the web data at our disposal. 

Advantages of using a web scraping tool

  • Custom Scraper Agent development with More Flexibility: Extract data points including ASIN, SKU, GTIN, and other identifiers to gain a more comprehensive view of what products they are carrying at what price points.
  • Export into structured and organized formats for easier analysis: export data into a CSV file or excel sheet. Or you can transfer extracted data into your internal database via APIs. Whether it is analysis software or AWS storage infrastructure, you have full control over which data fields get a display in what format. 
  • Schedule scraping at your discretion to gain a more competitive edge: Price information is time-sensitive. You need automation that can look after the price every other minute. With cloud extraction, you can set a scraping schedule every minute or on a specific day of the week.

Conclusions

Price monitoring is dispensable in the competition, however, there are many tricks to play when it comes to pricing strategy, tracking the orders, page views, historical price changes. The reality is far more nuanced than it needs us to sharpen our eyes. The key to success is to have a reliable scraping service provider for you to gain a holistic view of the ever-changing online market.

Adam Hansen