The ease of doing business, especially online, partly brought about by a robust and fast internet infrastructure, has given rise to a lot more competition than in yesteryears. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the competition through well-informed strategies lest they get left behind and are subsequently forced to close shop.
This is because the large pool of companies, which is still growing by the day, provides customers with many options. Interestingly, most of these customers look at prices, although they also focus on other factors such as quality and a good user experience. Simply put, they partake in comparison shopping, either knowingly or subconsciously.
Thus, more favourable prices than competitors’ determine whether these customers will check out or abandon products at virtual carts. The latter is disastrous to a company’s returns. Nonetheless, to stay ahead through favourable prices, companies are hopping on the price scraping and price monitoring wagons, and you need not be left behind.
Price monitoring refers to tracking various aspects of a product that influence its price. These include the product itself (whether a company has unveiled a new product, its demand, etc.), promotions/offers, and the prices.
Price monitoring, aimed at obtaining competitive and optimal prices, often ignores the recommended retail price that manufacturers set and instead focuses on how competitors have priced their products.
This move is based on recognizing that a product’s price follows a pricing strategy that factors in aspects such as demand, the value of the product, competitors’ pricing, and the cost of running the business. But then again, knowing the competitor’s pricing requires price monitoring. Therefore, in business, many operations are intertwined.
That said, the take-home is that price monitoring is a process that informs a retailer of the most competitive price to sell the product at. It also gives them additional information on discount offers by competitors and whether they have restocked. In this regard, price monitoring relies on scraping competitors’ websites for other forms of data, as we’ll detail later on. You can find more information about price monitoring on the Oxylabs website.
Advantages of Price Monitoring
If you integrate price monitoring in your business’s online operations, you’re likely to benefit in the following ways:
1. Well-informed pricing strategy
With the knowledge of competitors’ moves and products available in their stock, it becomes particularly easy to set a price that will woo customers. Simply put, price monitoring enables companies to create a robust pricing strategy.
A pricing strategy refers to a method that establishes the best price for a product after analyzing various factors. Its main goal is to attract customers who, in turn, bring revenue in the form of increased sales.
2. Sentiment Analysis
Price monitoring not only focuses on the prices but also factors that determine prices. Further, given that price monitoring is a subset of web scraping, you could also extract information about what customers think about your products and their prices.
You could also retrieve information about their likes and dislikes when shopping, in addition to what products they have on their wish lists. If you offer these products on their wish list, you could target them using email marketing, given that scraping could give you their email addresses.
3. Analyze Competition
Thanks to price monitoring and web scraping, you can know what moves your competitors are making right off the bat. With this data, you can adjust your operations or prices to remain competitive through the right pricing strategy.
You also get to know new entrants in the market, attempting to undercut your business by offering cheaper products. Thus, with price monitoring, you’ll never be caught unawares regardless of how slick your competitors try to be.
Web Scraping and Price Monitoring
Web scraping births price monitoring. Notably, the former refers to the process of extracting data from websites. When this data is about the prices of products, the process acquires a new name – price monitoring.
Web scraping ensures that companies realize the full benefits of price monitoring since it’s responsible for extracting the other types of data besides how competitors have priced products. For instance, thanks to web scraping, you can do the following:
- Targeted email marketing. This is a form of lead generation that relies on scraped emails.
- Monitor what customers and news outlets say about your brand and its products.
- Research about the demand for the products you offer.
- Determine your market position
With that being said, successful web scraping and, by extension, price monitoring rely on proxy servers. But why? Well, websites curtail the retrieval of the information therein by deploying anti-scraping techniques, the most common of which involves blocking IP addresses. Nonetheless, proxy servers provide access to an IP address network from which they assign your computer when scraping. This protects your online identity and makes web data extraction smooth by preventing unnecessary bans.