What is Price Scraping and How Does it Work?

Posted by Rob Horton on October 12, 2023
Rob Horton
Find me on:


Pricing is a core component of an eCommerce business day to day operation. It is often one of the main things a consumer considers when deciding to make a purchase and therefore plays a critical role in determining a company's success.

Setting prices is an art form, that requires a careful balance between profitability, competitiveness, and customer value. When we refer to competitiveness here, we mean how price competitive are you relative to other e-commerce companies selling the same or very similar products.


You will be price competitive if you are always the cheapest, or in the lower range of prices relative to others. Prices are in effect more favourable than from other online retailers. If you are more expensive than most, you’re not price competitive. A desire by the eCommerce company to grow market share by attracting customers can be done by being price competitive and using price to encourage more consumers to shop at your store.

To assess price competitiveness, eCommerce companies must have access to competitor pricing information, that is gathered from competitor websites or marketplaces through a technique called ‘price scraping’. In this article, we cover what is price scraping and how it works.


What is Price Scraping?

Price scraping, also known as web scraping, involves the manual or automated extraction of pricing data from websites. Bots or web crawlers visit websites or marketplaces, navigate through product pages, extract pricing information (which can include the product's name, price, availability, and even customer reviews), algorithms complete product matching, and usable datasets are created for subsequent analysis and decision making to meet a business requirement.


These bots and web crawlers are price scraping at scale, typically collecting information for thousands or millions a day, multiple times per day to give users of the data the most accurate and up-to-date information. The infrastructure used for price scraping must be country-specific, so they can ensure that pricing information is collected that is relevant to the chosen geographic location. They must employ sophisticated methods to minimise the chance of detection and blocking from the domain name where the price scraping is being completed from.


Typical Price Scraping Use Cases

Price scraping is essential for businesses in various industries, such as e-commerce, travel, and finance. It helps companies:


Save Time

Price scraping done by a human can be time-consuming. If you have hundreds of products, how many web pages can a person check per hour of the day? Even if you have set up all the URLs beforehand to access and review, not a lot! 1 per minute would mean 60 products per hour. If you had an inventory of 500 products, this could take a team member more than an entire working day to complete. What other more value-add activities could this employee do to support the business in that time available?



Save Money

Employees are expensive. Even at minimum wage, a day of web scraping would likely come to circa £90.00, which does not even account for all the ancillary costs to support an employee. Can a price scraping tool do it cheaper? Absolutely! BlackCurve starts from as little as £99 per month.


Reduce Employee Churn & Improve Employee Health

At BlackCurve we often hear that companies have lost staff members because of the monotony and also health-related issues that come from manual price scraping. This includes hand strain injury, eye health issues, and headaches caused by the repetitive nature of manual web scraping. Price scraping tools don’t sleep and don’t need to visit the doctors (albeit, website structures can change, so it's vital to regularly update scraping scripts to ensure they continue to function correctly. If you are working with a dedicated price scraping provider, they will handle this automatically for you as part of the service).


Get More Accurate Data

Price Scraping done manually will often be quickly out of date due to the dynamic nature of eCommerce, and the sheer volume of competitors out there. Price Scraping solutions such as BlackCurve collect product pricing daily at a minimum frequency of 4 times per day, meaning you are always making pricing decisions using the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information. Making pricing decisions on out-of-date data is not setting up your business for success.


Complete Market Research

Price scraping can be used to collect data for market research, and understand consumer preferences, and demand patterns. What your competitors are selling is just as important to know as the prices they are selling them at, so you can pick differently, carve out a niche, or use it to find out the trending products that you may be missing from your inventory so they can be procured.



Automate Pricing Decisions

We often hear from businesses that just as they complete their pricing analysis, and make changes, the competition has themselves moved price positions again, the next time they are collecting. Price scraping used in conjunction with dynamic pricing technology ensures your desired market position price strategy is always implemented and up to date.


Tools and Technologies for Price Scraping

There are various web scraping tools available, ranging from open-source software like Scrapy to commercial solutions such as Import.io. Specialist price scraping tool providers such as BlackCurve also provide analysis and data visualization that is presented in a manner to best make pricing decisions.

Once the data is scraped, businesses can use data analysis tools like Excel, and Python (with libraries like Pandas), or data visualization tools specific to pricing use cases, again like BlackCurve to derive actionable insights.



Pricing is a crucial aspect of business strategy, and understanding the nuances of pricing is essential for success. Businesses that leverage price scraping can gain a competitive edge by staying informed about market dynamics and consumer behavior. They will save time, save money, promote employee well-being, and grow market share.

Topics: Competitor Pricing, Competitor Price Tracking, Price Scraping

Recent Posts

Posts by tag

See all