Running a business is undeniably challenging, even if it’s an online store. Competition can even be fiercer for an online business, which is why you need to take steps to keep yourself ahead of the competition and at the top of your industry.
Price scraping is an excellent way to do this since it allows you to gather the data you need to keep up with your competitors and see how you can improve your own prices to attract more customers.
However, with any web scraping process, price scraping also comes with its own set of challenges, which can make it more difficult for you to extract the data you need online.
Still, what exactly are these threats to price scraping? In addition, how do they affect your business? Read on to find out.
Price Scraping: An Overview
Before we discuss the top three threats to price scraping, let’s first take a closer look at what it is. Price scraping is a process wherein you use web crawlers or web scraping tools to scrape eCommerce data like price information from various sources online.
This process allows business owners like yourself to gain deeper insights into how competitors price their products and how well these prices do in their industry. Price scraping offers many benefits to business owners.
With this process, you can use the extracted data to build on successful strategies and improve any less effective ones. For example, when you know how your competitors are pricing their goods, you can adjust yours accordingly to attract more customers.
However, many business owners face challenges when they try to scrape eCommerce data like prices online. Check this recent post to learn more about the most efficient tools for price scraping.
The Top 3 Threats in Price Scraping and How to Overcome Them
As mentioned, you can encounter various challenges when you try to scrape eCommerce data like pricing online. This can make it more difficult to gather the data you need to gain deeper insights into your competitors’ performance and your own.
So, what exactly are the top three threats you should be aware of when conducting price scraping online? Moreover, how can you overcome them?
- Risks of Getting Banned or Blocked
One of the primary challenges business owners face when conducting price scraping is the risk of being banned or blocked from a particular site.
This is because many businesses believe that competitors getting ahold of their data puts them at a disadvantage, which is why they put various security protocols in place.
These security protocols are designed to detect web scraping activities on their website, and once they do, they will ban or block the source of these activities to prevent further scraping.
Some examples of these anti-scraping techniques include:
Fortunately, there are several ways you can overcome this challenge. For example, you can change your web crawling patterns to mimic the traditional web user’s behavior more closely. Similarly, you can also slow down your price scraping process to avoid being flagged as a bot.
Lastly, you can also use proxies to mask specific pieces of information like your IP address and location. It’s also better if you opt for proxies that can rotate your IP address to further avoid being banned or blocked.
- Inaccurate or Incomplete Data
Aside from being banned or blocked, another challenge in price scraping is that there’s always the possibility that the information you extract is incomplete or inaccurate.
One of the reasons for this is that many websites tend to update their interface to meet their customers’ demands better. Changes to the website’s structure can make it trickier for your existing web scrapers to extract the right type of data.
In fact, these could lead to your web scrapers extracting inaccurate or incomplete data from these websites, which can affect how well you plan your strategies around them.
To avoid this, it’s best to update your own scrapers and crawlers regularly so that they can continue gathering the data you need without encountering any issues.
- Inability to Scrape Price Data in Real-Time
There are cases when you need to have your pricing data extracted as soon as possible so that you can immediately adjust your pricing strategies according to the ever-changing demand.
Moreover, being able to scrape price data in real-time is vital, especially considering how prices can change in a blink of an eye. However, websites often have rate-limiting techniques that can slow down your price scraping efforts.
This is usually the result of sending too many requests at once, which can be flagged as suspicious activity by the website’s servers. So, to avoid this, you can start by slowing down your price scraping efforts to avoid detection.
You can also use rotating proxies to make it seem like the requests come from different users instead of just one to prevent them from slowing down your access to their site.
Price scraping can be an invaluable way to gain clearer insights into your competitors’ performance and allow you to stay ahead of the game. However, the process isn’t without its challenges, which is why you need to be aware of them so that you can implement the right solutions.