How to track competitor price with web scraping

About Price Tracking

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.

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Amazon has been keeping track of pricing from competitive marketplaces like Walmart. As soon as it finds out Walmart has the same or 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 the 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 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 that 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?

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3. Limited coverage to access full information

As most solutions only get you information from 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 to 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 result in project delays. The turnaround time usually pertains to the scope of required data and 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.

Read story about how the Japanese Ebay Seller Build Database to Track the Market

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 of data extraction. It basically functions as a web crawler like Google but more practical as we can obtain the web data at our disposal.

Octoparse has years experience in working with businesses of all sizes from small local businesses owners to multinational companies. Companies stay with us because they have critical data quality standards that most service providers failed to achieve.

Octoparse custom solutions catering to your complex data requirements with the utmost web scraping technology to keep up with the ever changing online world.

1. Custom Scraper Agent development with More Flexibility

Each retailer has their own unique data requirement. Octoparse designs the scraper as the way you need it to be. 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.

2. Export into structured and organized formats for easier analysis

Octoparse offers a wide range of options to control how data is processed and exported. By default, Octoparse can export 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 to display in what format.

3. Schedule scraping at your discretion to gain more competitive edge

Price information is time sensitive. You need automation that can look after the price every other minute. And we get it! With Octoparse cloud extraction, you can set a scraping schedule every minute or on a specific day of the week.

4. Retrieve simultaneously across marketplaces for faster turnaround

We build custom scrapers mostly in days. If you have multiple channels to look into, Octoparse ensures a shorter development span to expedite your project while addressing your data requirement needs. With cloud extraction, juxtaposed aggregation processes through sets of cloud servers is easy. We make sure you are always ahead of the race.

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Price monitoring is dispensable in the competition, however, there are many tricks to play when it comes to pricing strategy, tracking the orders, pageviews, historical price changes. The reality is far more nuanced that 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.

Octoparse is the observant eyes that can help keep tabs on your competitor without blinks, so you can focus more time on strategic planning. If you are looking for a solution or are unhappy with the current provider, reach out to us and we can help.