Customer expectations are high. They expect your business to deliver the best product at the right price, which means you need to know what your nearest competitors are offering. In addition, with the digital age upon us, your ‘nearest’ competitor could be thousands of miles away. However, if they are snapping at your heels and plying their trade to your customers, you need to be at the top of your game.
This means data.
Knowing what your competitors are offering, prices and consumer habits, along with a whole gambit of other information is key. With that said, it takes hours of hard research, copying and pasting customer reviews and product descriptions for comparison. And even then, you only get half the story. Web scraping solutions offer the only real results in terms of cost, time and resources.
What Can Web Scraping be Used For?
There are many benefits to analysing your competitors.
Whereas we would once visit their shop by sending mystery shoppers, the advent of the internet and tools such as social media, means that our tools of analysis need to be different. As a result, web scraping is a solution that is harnessed by many.
With web scraping, you get to see what your competitors are good at, and what their weaker areas are. This gives you the data and the opportunity to step in and offer consumers what they are looking for.
Clients who use web scraping providers will gather different kind of information and data for analysis. What follows is not an exhaustive list but gives a flavour of how companies are using this analysis tool:
As a retailer, you may want to compare and contrast your products with those of rivals, including product specification and price. You may have seen this on some competitor sites that show consumers how their product differs in some way.
Comparison sites do this continually, which is how they can show the consumer the price for the same hotel, for example, across a range of companies and retailers.
- Business profiles and reviews
Every brand has a reputation.
Each brand encourages their customers to share reviews, inviting them to leave comments either on their own website or using third party sites. Keeping an eye on reputation of competitors is important for your business too.
- People profiles
We place ourselves on social media for the world to see and there are web scraping solutions that track online reputation.
- SEO Tracking
Perfect for picking up changes in search engine results.
- Specific company pages
What are people saying about your competitor? How can you use this information?
- Medical information
You can see what health organisations and clinics are offering via their websites, creating data of specialist services by location.
- Fraudulent reviews
Not everyone plays by the rules and fraudulent reviews can boost the appeal of a certain website or competitor. But when detected, can create serious problems for the brand concerned.
- News and current affairs
A vast resource on the web, you can scrape news and outlets that provide the best resource for your consumers or audience.
- Email addresses
Gathering bulk emails to form an email campaign is also part of web scraping capabilities.
As with other solutions and programs, there are trends in web scraping technology.
A huge and still-growing area is the use of web scraping within real estate. This allows a company to gather all the properties already listed.
Knowing what your competitors are doing is essential for your business.
There are those that question the legality and ethical status of web scraping but, it is a fact of life that we live in an age where there is a huge amount of information and data ripe for analysis – and information your company needs.