As a business, your goal is to outperform your competitors and offer your customers the best experience possible. This means you constantly have to monitor what your competitors are doing and what changing needs your customers have.
It’s a never-ending game of acting and reacting, trying your best to stay ahead of the curb. But what if you could automate a large chunk of all that work. What if you could access vast amounts of customer and competitor data with just a few clicks of your mouse?
Web scraping allows you to do all this by automating the data gathering process for you. Through the use of sophisticated bots, you can scrape data from virtually every site on the web. From scraping your main competitor’s site to gathering image data using the Google image search API.
Automated web scraping opens all sorts of possibilities for your business and new ways for you to outdo your competitors. Below, we’ll list some of the most common uses of web scraping to better your business.
Top web scraping uses for any business
1. Price monitoring
The most common use of web scraping is probably competitive price monitoring. And it’s one of the best ways to outdo your competition.
Price monitoring (sometimes called price intelligence) is the process of automatically checking and tracking the prices of competitors’ products. This is done by scraping websites like Google Shopping or Amazon.
The web scraper extracts all the pricing data from these sites and presents it to you in an easily accessible overview. You can then adjust your own products’ prices accordingly to stay ahead of your competitors at all times.
Alternatively, you can go a step further and fully automate the price updates as well, turning your pricing strategy into the most dynamic pricing strategy possible (which is exactly how Amazon does it).
2. Competitor monitoring
Pricing data isn’t the only useful information you can scrape from your competitors’ websites (or third party sites).
You can scrape all the data of your competitors’ websites so you have all their product information, the reviews they’re getting from customers, the content they publish on their blog.
Now you may think you can just go ahead and check out your competitor’s website yourself. But what if you have dozens of competitors, all with hundreds if not thousands of web pages? Web scraping can help you gather loads of information, all in the blink of an eye.
3. SEO monitoring
You can also use web scraping to improve your search engine results and beat your competition in the rankings.
Building further on the previous point of competitor monitoring, you can use web scraping to check how your competitors are performing. But that’s not all. You can also use it to scrape your own website to see where you can improve.
You might notice broken links or incorrectly placed redirects. These and many more potential mistakes can be spotted through web scraping. Once detected, you work on fixing the issues and improve your site’s organic performance.
4. Customer monitoring
Customer monitoring comes in several different ways.
Firstly, you can monitor customer reviews across the web, to see what your customers think of your products. Special review monitoring tools scrape dozens of review sites (like Trustpilot) for you and even allow you to reply to them directly from their interface.
Secondly, you can scrape social media platforms and forums to further find out how people interact with your brand and how they feel about the product you offer.
Lastly, you can monitor the behavior of potential future customers. This can be done through opinion mining, like how they did it in this study, which involves monitoring people’s sentiments towards a certain product or service, to see if it’s worth investing in launching a similar product or service as well.
All these different ways of gaining customer insights help you optimize your product offering so it stands out from your competition. It can also further help you spot market trends (or negative market sentiment) before your competitors so you can react accordingly.
5. Generating new leads
Depending on your business model, one of your main targets might be to gain leads.
For example, you might have a great service to offer to local businesses in your area. Your competitor offers the exact same service, so you need to try and reach out to as many potential local businesses as possible before they do.
In comes web scraping of Google Maps. You can easily scrape the contact data from local businesses off Google Maps and have the data extracted into a handy format like a Google Spreadsheet.
While your competitor is still trying to manually Google their way from local business to local business, trying to find the relevant contact details, you already have a full list of all relevant leads with phone numbers for you to call.