Web scraping has become a mainstream source of business data for strategic business initiatives. The practice is the automatic collection of online data from web sources for analytics using quantitative methods. The process has become such a crucial data generation tool, that a California appeal court decreed that web crawling and scraping was a legal web process.
The 2019 judgment was made in respect to the cease and desist web scraping claim letter to HiQ by Linkedin. The court said that HiQ was only scrapping public user data, which is not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Uses of web scraping
Web scraping has a wide variety of business user, which include;
● Price monitoring to enhance competitor-pricing strategies or price scraping
● The monitoring of consumer sentiment by scraping user reviews and feedback through keywords
● For market data aggregation across millions of websites to glean actionable intelligence for equity research
● To produce real-time analytics for financial and retail use
● For predictive analysis to help understand and forecast future customer behavior or their reception to products
● To extract data from sanctions lists, news and press articles, legal databases, insolvency, corporate and financial registers for risk management
● To mine lead generation, content marketing data to enhance data-driven marketing strategies.
Price scraping and its benefits for e-commerce businesses
Price scraping is a process that utilizes bots to conduct competitive price tracking. The bots are additionally used to monitor price intelligence-related information from websites such as travel and e-commerce sites. This process, once enacted by large multinationals, is now more mainstream and has actually become an online arms race that every online marketer needs to stay competitive.
The popularity of the process was sensationalized in 2017 when Amazon successfully blacklisted and blocked Wal-Mart’s price scrapers from its websites. Walmart had apparently listed bots that would scrap its competitor’s listings. The firm conducted several million price scraping activities each day to enable its real-time price adjustments.
Ecommerce businesses rely on price scraping to issue prices that attract customers. Most of them will experience a decline in sales immediately, their competitors undercut their pricing strategy. Price scraping bots are the secret that many Fortune 500 companies use to inform policy, issue competitive prices, and measure the sentiment of their customers.
How business perform price scraping
Since this form of data scraping can not only extract data but also make the data’s welder more competitive, some websites have designed methods that sabotage price scraping on their domains. This need has encouraged the growth of a third-party service industry dedicated to the identification and blocking of competitor data scraping bots.
Some websites have even gone further and issued falsified price information to these bots feeding them higher than actual product prices. To avoid cloaking or spoofing mechanisms and bot blockages, businesses now use proxy servers to route their data scraping requests. The proxies hide the business’s real identity.
The most commonly used proxies are data that center servers issued by cloud-based providers. Unfortunately, since they are not actual IP addresses, they are often easy to identify and block. Residential proxies sometimes used in peer-to-peer networks solve this shortcoming.
When they are used as rotating proxies, they enable price scraping routing commercial requests without getting blocked or spoofed. In a peer-to-peer network, the owners of the residential IP addresses enjoy benefits such as ad-free browsing or free app use on the P2P network.
Benefits of price scraping
1. To follow industry pricing trends
For any business about to issue a new service or product, the knowledge of user interaction and behavior to such products can be very advantageous. Data harvestings of pricing trends can keep you aware of changes in pricing or sentiment on related industries.
You can, for instance, tell when prices are changing and manage your product’s price through real-time dynamic pricing. You can also use pricing trends data to initiate customized and behavioral pricing strategies to build up and cross-selling pricing options.
2. To build a competitive strategy
The only way your business can create a viable strategy against its competitors is by tracking their prices. This data can highlight what strategies your competitors use to enable you to set maximum and minimum price sets. Web scraping will avail new competitor price data to keep you ahead.
3. To create a pricing strategy
An effective pricing strategy will not only drive your sales but also keep your customers engaged and loyal. You can use perform competitor inventory scraping to determine theirs out of stock products, which will allow you to adjust your website prices for maximum profitability.
You can also scrape their data to spot what their best-sellers are and introduce these products to your inventory as well.
Price scraping will help you build a winning strategy for product pricing by optimizing prices in real-time. Through intelligent monitoring, you can quantify the necessity of price changes and give your business an advantage when creating unique pricing offers.
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