Data Mining – Extract Useful Data

 

Data. It’s something that everybody has and everybody wants more of.

 

 

Over time, the amount of data in the universe has piled up in huge amounts, with more and more being added to the pile every day. Now, the term Big Data is being used to describe data that is extremely vast and cannot be easily measured.

Every company needs data to function- whether it’s based on customer reception to a product or service, or client-based information or data within your own system. Sometimes it is freely available and easy to get, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. Usually, a data scientist or analyst is hired to do the job of digging up data.

But the truth is anybody can do it. You don’t necessarily have to be a data scientist to do the job. This is where the concept of data mining steps in.

What is Data Mining?

In simple terms, data mining is a way to extract useful data from a large pile of raw data. It also involves checking or analyzing patterns in the data you’re collecting, using various kinds of tools and software.

You could use a tool like a web crawler software, for example, to extract the data you’re looking for.

Let’s take a look at the various other tools you could use to mine data.

Tools Used to my Data

Data mining software can either be an open source or a paid mining tool. Now, an open source tool is freely available, sure, but you might need to have the good coding knowledge to use it. The paid tools are a lot easier to use and give you immediate results. There several out there to choose from, but it’s important to choose one that meets your needs.

Understand what kind of data you need before you move ahead. If you’re going to go for data from your own system, then you can probably go ahead without expecting trouble. But if you need to go for data outside, then you might have to use a proxy server to cover up your footprints.

Now that you’ve chosen a tool and understood what kind of data you need, it’s time to take a look into the actual mining process.

Mining for Patterns

As mentioned before, the most important part of mining data is looking for a set of patterns.

There are various kinds of pattern. Some common ones are Association Learning Patterns, Anomaly, and Cluster Detection.

Association Learning consists of looking for patterns where you find items that are often bought together. Let’s say a man wants to buy a mobile phone, he might also want to buy a phone cover or a memory card. You find out which items customers usually buy together and then offer it next time a customer chooses the item.

Anomaly pattern is when there is a complete deviation from the usual selections. A Cluster pattern is when you categorize a customer under one cluster that has the same buying patterns. This helps predict what they usually buy and offer something along the same line.

Importance of Data Mining

Hence Data Mining is an important tool for businesses to understand their customers and for several other measures like database marketing and upselling their products.

Competitor Price Monitoring – Get an Edge in the Market

 

Competitive pricing

It’s the process of selecting strategic price points to take better advantage of the market than your competition. This pricing method is used by businesses which sell the same products, though their services may be different. This type of strategy is used for products which have been on the market for so long that their alternatives are also available. There are usually only three choices present in front of the businesses in terms of pricing, either sell their products at lower cost than competition, at equal cost or at higher cost than the competition. When your business is online, people get easy option to compare online your competitors prices. And if they find your competitors selling the same products that you are selling but at cheaper cost, they are going to opt for your competition and sooner or later you may end up losing your business. Online business is all about pricing and better the price, better the business.

Competitive pricing

 

Monitoring the competitors pricing

Competitor’s price monitoring is crucial strategy for the business. It’s the strategy that helps in finding the perfect pricing at the perfect time. Monitoring the competitor shouldn’t be the only criteria to set the prices but it’s an important one. Not only the pricing of your customers, but you should also be looking at your log and figure the trends of your buyers and your products perceived value. It’s the best way to stay ahead of the competition. You can also find out where you stand with respect to your competition.

For all this to happen conveniently, web scraping is a powerful tool that can act like a canon and give you an advantage over others. With web scraping, you can easily find out the pricing data whenever you want to.

To create your own competitor price monitoring strategy, just follow these simple steps:-

  • Competition identification- the first and foremost you should identify your competition. It’s only after you know who you are competing against that you can get a hold over them. Use Google or social media websites to find out your competition.
  • Identification of competitive assortment- you should have knowledge of which of your products are being sold more than or less than your competitors. Web scraping helps you to find it out and hence increases your chances of selling more than your competition.
  • Analysis of data- run the data which you have collected through scraping through an analytics platform and you will quickly identify the trends and compare the prices.

 

Importance of competitor price monitoring

Competitor price monitoring can be used to determine what competitors influence the sales of your business. It’s very beneficial if you know what your competitors are selling and at what price. Knowing this would help you to set up a better price which can increase your sales and get ahead of the competition. If your competitors are selling products at lower cost than you, you will definitely lose to your competition. It will help in avoiding in making pricing mistakes. Pricing has an obvious impact on your sales. If they are too high, consumers will obviously run away from you. Too low and you’re basically keeping the money on the table. The modern business world waits for none and you must always be ahead of your competition. Monitoring your competitors prices is like having a cheat sheet in your exam. That’s how much advantage you have when you monitor your competitors prices.

Multitudes of Web Scraping

 

 

Web scraping, also often know as web harvesting or web data extraction, primarily, is a technique used for extracting data from the websites. It uses the world wide web directory to access the huge database through hypertext transfer protocol and compare and analyse the desired content. Though, it can be done manually too, but an automated process is hassle free, can handle larger data and provided higher accuracy of results.

 

Web Scraping is done extensively with the help of Python. Reason being that Python is superfast for this job. Python has a library called “Beautiful soup” which is required for extracting the data out of the HTML and XML files. It works with one’s favorite parser to provide idiomatic ways of navigating, searching and modifying the parse tree. It makes the job much more easier and saves the time. “Beautiful soup” can do a variety of things but it has its own limitation. It cannot send a request on to the web page. So for making the requests, requests are used and then further Beautiful soup can be used. Another python module which is used for getting the URLs is Urllib2 is also used.

By why is Web Scraping used? The answer to this lies in the fact that, web scraping:-

 

  • Boosts Employment as there are various processes which come under the umbrella of web scraping where manpower in required to be engaged.
  • Optimizes resources as it helps in developing strategic plans and creating modules which could be profitable in short and long run for the respective company
  • Boosts profits as once the well planned strategies are executed, they are sure to reap amazing results in terms of company profits as well as in terms of helping the respective company to create a niche in the modern day competitive market arena.

 

In this context, companies such as ITSYS Solution is a name to place one’s trust with. Its efficient management of data, proper maintenance of databases – big or small, detailed analysis, precise results and, all over cost, effective services make it very dependable and a company to go for.

 

Web scraping, though considered by many, as a grey area, is such an area that despite of being cited as illegal proves to be a domain which helps in reaping quite handsome profits. From its very inception, it has grown and expanded its reach and still on a rapid rise in terms of its use by many eminent companies.

Advantages of Rate Parity

 

A customer plans a trip to Goa and wants to stay there for a comfortable weekend getaway. He reaches your website after receiving a recommendation from a friend and proceeds to book a room. Just as he is about to pay with his credit card, his wife walks in and asks him to check out the rates on Ibibo, claiming the rates there are lower. Your customer proceeds to book a room and you end up with a much lower profit margin and have to pay a commission to the OTA as well.

Most hoteliers are no strangers to such stories. In fact, such stories are the reason why Rate Parity was introduced.

 

What is Rate Parity

Rate Parity requires you to maintain the same rates on every distribution channel you currently employ. So, with Rate Parity, the rates you currently display on your website need to be the same as that displayed on Ibibo or Makemytrip’s website.

 

What Are The Advantages of Rate Parity

In today’s world, OTAs are a necessary evil; they have the marketing manpower and the social outreach that no individual hotelier can manage. Rate Parity, however, brings you and the OTA back on a level playing field. With Rate Parity, both you and the OTA need to charge the exact same price for the same rooms.

  • Rate Parity allows you to leverage your own marketing and social media efforts without having to lose out on a lot of traffic to your OTA’s.
  • Rate parity lets you dictate the price your rooms sell for, irrespective of the platform your customers come through.
  • Rate Parity also boosts your brand image; there is a reason why Apple is such a trusted and well respected brand. Consumers who see that the price you are charging is uniform across all platforms, they will begin to see you as a much more dependable brand.
  • By maintaining rate parity, you also are able to preserve your relationship with the several different OTAs you employ.
  • You significantly boost the number of hits and bookings you get on your own website. You also do not need to pay absurd amounts in commission to the OTAs.

 

How can you maintain Rate Parity

Sure, you can sign agreements with your OTAs to maintain the prices at the rates you predecide. But your own prices will rarely be constant; it’s pretty for the OTA to argue that it simply was not aware of rate hike.

You can work your way around this tiny loophole by applying a Price Monitoring Technique known as Web scraping. Web Scraping allows you to maintain in price monitoring by constantly ‘scraping’ the rates OTAs are charging for your rooms on their platforms automatically, rather than you needing to keep monitoring their websites.

You can keep track of OTAs who are defaulting on your agreements and take action against them. ITSys solutions provides Web Scraping solutions to hotels to ensure Rate Parity across all their channels

Schedule a free consult to discuss how Web Scraping Rate Parity Solution can help your hotel (Add CTA)

 

Connected Pages Dashboard on Bing Webmaster

Microsoft in November 2013 added a nice little feature to their Bing webmaster toolbox – Connected Pages Dashboard that allows you to tell them what pages you own under your social network. Once verified these social profiles, Bing connects the dots and you’ll be able to see all kinds of information from inbound links to search terms for those Connected Pages.

bing-connected-pages-dashboard

To connect a page:

  • Sign into Bing Webmaster Tools and select Connected Pages from the Configure My Site section.
  • Complete the URL path for the various media networks associated with your page on that network.
  • Click Verify.

This usually takes a few minutes, if you are filling out multiple networks at the same time. Make sure your connected page profile has a link to your site’s URL or it won’t be verified and you will see an exclamation mark. If everything is successful, you won’t receive feedback and data will start showing up, within 72 hours or less.

Currently Connected Pages allows you to connect with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Windows Store, Google Play, Apple Store, Pinterest, Windows Phone Store, YouTube, Instagram, and MySpace. For more details, refer to the Bing Help for Connected Pages

With this latest add-on to the webmaster tools, Bing not only provides traffic data from your website, but nearly from all your owned media. If you aren’t using Bing Webmaster Tools, this makes for a compelling reason to start.

Why you need Competitor price monitoring service?

Competitor Price Monitoring has become an indispensable service for taking strategic decisions on product pricing in today’s highly competitive e-commerce market. With standard services and product specifications, product price is the key difference between making a sale and just having a visit to a website. Therefore monitoring the prices of competitor has become the key to survival.

Some of the other reasons why monitoring your competitor is essential in current market scenario are

  1. Most prospective consumers start their search on price comparison engines. If your price is higher than your competitors, your chances of making the sale are bleak. A difference of 100 to 200 basis points doesn’t really matter much but a bigger difference will push your listing down and thereby ruin the chance of a sale.
  2. You need to study the prices and understand the market before pricing the product. Almost all retailers are tech-savvy and more competitive than before and just as you, are probably monitoring prices. Thus it becomes imperative for you to actively monitor a larger base to find the right price point that will make that elusive sale.
  3. Competitor price monitoring also allows you to identify the special promotions, shipping charges, additional attractions like same day shipping, price on delivery, etc. that may have been strategized by your competitor to make more sales. This would better allow you to strategize your business plan and improve sales.

Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line

Focusing on monitoring competitors for prices will allow you to make those extra sales and stay ahead of your competitors. ITSYS Solutions offers affordable, expandable and hosted web scraping services that will provide you with all the information you need in an easily-usable form. To identify and discover on ways web scraping can help your business grow, visit our  website http://www.website-scraping.com

Benefits of monitoring competitor prices by web scraping

Amazon.com’s foray into e-commerce rewrote the rules of the retail industry and ever since, more businesses are selling online than before. The retailers today face many different kinds of challenges and competitions. With customer loyalty on the wane,  pricing the products is now the most crucial decision a business has to make. This requires monitoring the prices of competitors on a regular basis.

By monitoring your competitor sites for prices and stocks you can

Boost Sales: Boost your sales with competition-based pricing. Discover the best price points by increasing / decreasing prices and monitoring the sales. If sales are steady on increasing prices, you can further increase or rollback to the price point at which sales peaked.

Increase Margins: Increase your margins by tracking prices and finding products for which you can raise prices competitively. For example, you can increase the price of an identical but out of stock item if it’s not available on your competitor’s site and thereby increase margins.

Optimize Product Catalog: Optimize your product catalog by monitoring your competitor’s stock availability during the day. You can accordingly optimize your inventory and stock items at a price point which are offered at competitive pricing.

Geographic Pricing: As a large e-store owner/manager, by web scraping the data to monitor prices, you can gain valuable insight into the product pricing across geographies and determine whether you can charge more based on distinguishing factors, such as specific neighborhoods or ZIP codes.

We at ITSYS Solutions specialize in web scraping and provide “hosted” price monitoring solution. Since 2006 have scraped thousands of websites providing our clients from North America and Europe with data in formats as per their requirement. Our “hosted” web scraping services will capture the data anonymously and non-intrusively. For more details on how we can help your business, please feel free to contact us with your web data extraction project requirement and our executives will revert back to you.

Store locations data list

Stores locations provide Retail Location Planning and Analysis Professionals, Town Planners, Local Government, Retail Consultants, Marketing Professionals etc. to get a strategic view on the number of stores a business chain has nationally, regionally or in particular cities. This information is useful for businesses that are in Retail, Publishing, Mobile & Telecoms, Mapping, Property Consulting, Location Based Services, Media, App Development, News Service, Strategic Planning, etc.

We at ITSYS Solutions can scrape and provide you with the most recent and updated list of stores from any store locator website in a data format as per your requirement. Web scraping in its simplest form is automated collection of information from the web to create a dataset in XML, CSV, TSV, Excel etc for further use and analysis.

Some of the lists that we have scraped from web store locators and provided to our clients in recent past include list of department stores, restaurants, retail chain stores, grocery stores, gas stations, jewelery stores, mobile stores, automotive parts stores, tire stores, large warehouses, bank branches, insurance company branches, ATM locations etc. The details that were scraped and captured included Name/ID, Address, City, State, Zip/Postal Code, Phone, Email, Fax, Store Hours, Facilities/Amenities offered, Latitude, and Longitude.

For your web scraping project, you need to contact us specifying the targeted store locator website, the geographical areas for which data is needed (eg. selected cities or states, or all states and cities in the country) and fields of information. We will write and run the scrapers on our own servers that will with 100% accuracy, reliably, efficiently and anonymously, capture the details for you.

Web Scraping in SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. The value of having sites highly ranked and visible in search engine results is widely known as they are the principle drivers of traffic to any website. The visibility of a site on search engine could very well be the difference in success or failure of a business.  Although an old concept, but one by which SEO practitioners still swear by is one of the most widely used SEO technique. It requires webmasters to insert relevant meta-tags of keywords and description apart from having the right page title. With numerous sites in same genre trying to outdo each other and algorithms of search engines changing by the day, it is extremely important to monitor your competitors content, keywords and title tags. Doing the task manually everyday is time consuming & tedious. A much faster and simpler way would be to automate this process using a technique of web scraping.

Web scraping or web data mining is a technique used to extract data from HTML web pages in documents. Web scraping can help a lot in  monitoring of the titles, keywords, content, meta-tags of the competitors websites. One can quickly get an idea of which keywords are driving traffic to the competitors’ website, which content categories are attracting links and user engagement, and what resources will it take to rank your site higher than competition? This would allow you or your SEO practitioner to take undertake necessary steps in making changes to site before its too late, and ensure that your site is always at the top of search engines and get traffic to keep your business on the growth trajectory.

For more information, please visit our dedicated site on web scraping.