What is price scraping and how does it work?

Today, everything that happens online, including the e-commerce world, is based on data. From that point of view, each store is nothing but a huge data repository. And when it comes to online trade, one of the most important types of data that sellers are interested in are prices. And that’s how we get to price scraping. In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about scraping prices from websites and online stores.

The data repository comparison is actually quite accurate. Just think about all the information that each e-commerce website contains. Every product picture, every description, every parameter, every category list, and every price are just pieces of data.

And by the nature of data, it can be collected, stored, processed, and analyzed. Price scraping is a technique that helps you with just that (minus analyzing). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and start with the basics.

Scraping definition

When you look up the definition of the term “scraping”, you discover it’s “a small amount of something that has been obtained by scraping it from a surface”. So, in essence, scraping is all about getting something that’s available in some sort of way, e.g., lies on the surface.

Scraping is also a technique used in the web and IT world. For example, some companies scrap email addresses (e.g., from LinkedIn or online catalogs) and use them to promote their services and products. Of course, we don’t recommend that strategy, primarily because emails constitute personal data protected by local and international laws (e.g., GDPR). Secondly, this way of contacting people is simply unethical, and if you do that, you will quickly get the spammer label.

Sometimes, though, scraping isn’t about extracting protected information but something that’s openly available – for example, prices.

Price scraping

Price scraping is a technique of getting (extracting) data about prices in online stores and on marketplaces in an automated manner. In its most basic form, you can scrap prices even manually by visiting all the web stores you’re interested in (your competitors) and noting down the prices they offer. To some extent, that’s price scraping.

Obviously, such a technique is totally ineffective. For starters, it would take you months to gather all the information you need. And even if that was doable, your findings would become outdated in no time. E-commerce is a very dynamic sector, and prices sometimes change even by the minute. So, what can you do if you want to know what prices other sellers offer? There are several options that you can consider. We’ll talk about them in a moment.

To start scraping prices, you need to prepare. For starters, you should be interested in a specific product category (or categories) and a particular region (or regions). After all, not every company, even selling the same products, is your competition. Suppose you run an online store in Germany. Is the store selling the same products in Australia your competitor? Unlikely. Secondly, you need to gather all the products that you want to check. There are many cross-industry stores that sometimes offer products that are irrelevant from your perspective.

Suppose you have a list of a few stores and several dozen products. What’s next? You need a tool that will help you scrap prices effectively.

Price scraping tools

Here, you have three options. If you are tech-savvy (or you have a smart programmer onboard), you can decide to create a web crawler or bot that will scrap prices for you. 

You have to be aware of one thing – usually, website owners don’t want their prices to be scrapped. That’s why many of them use some defense mechanisms that can block bots and crawlers from scraping their prices. Therefore, you may not get 100% of the information that you seek. 

Secondly, you can decide to opt for a ready-made scraping software that’s already preconfigured to scrap prices. Usually, you just need to configure everything the way you want, and you’re good to go.

There are several price scraping tools, some of them being:

  • Dealavo 
  • ProWebScraper
  • Octoparse
  • Pricefy
  • Price2Spy

Typical scraping tools offer you just raw data, nothing more (you have to deal with the analytics part on your own). At Dealavo, you have access to the comprehensive analytics feature. You get data in a useful tool with charts showing price changes, helpful filtering possibilities and a dynamic pricing feature. 

PRICE SCRAPING – THE DEALAVO SOLUTION

At Dealavo, we offer a price monitoring tool that can get you what you need – prices in competitive online stores. Furthermore, we monitor not just web stores but price comparison engines and marketplaces as well. As a result, our clients get easy access to price data. And it goes further because our tool enables a constant process of competitor monitoring – you always know how competitive your offer is and whether other retailers currently offer discounts for the analyzed products.

At Dealavo, you have access to the comprehensive analytics feature. With our help, you can benefit from:

  • Information about product availability – you can analyze whether your competitors have a product in stock.
  • Competitive analysis – you can check which retailer you have the biggest number of products in your assortment in common.
  • Alerts about profit increase possibilities – a quick reaction to changes in the dynamic e-commerce market can significantly increase profit. In our price monitoring software, you can filter out products for which you can increase prices without losing customers to competitors.

As a result, you obtain a much more extended and in-depth knowledge about competitive stores and their offer. Do you want to know more? See our price monitoring solution and request a demo to see how it works in real-life conditions.