Buyers are searching for products and reviews online before making a purchasing decision. There are millions of products and hundreds of websites to choose from and influencing a shopping decision is very tough for e-commerce companies. No person will go to every site and compare products to identify the best fit. There got to be a better way and that is exactly what price comparison websites do.
Price Comparison engine is a search engine that shoppers use to compare products based on price, features, and other criteria. Price comparison sites aggregate product listings from many different retailers but do not directly sell products themselves.
As a web data extraction provider, we often come across this question “How to build a price comparison website?”. Our standard reply is as follows.
Building a basic price comparison engine is easy, however, the problem is when you are scaling it across multiple categories and platforms.The comparison engine will give you a list of sellers who sells the item you’ve searched for. For building such a system, we need to extract, compare and visualize the data. Read on to understand how to build a basic price comparison engine.
Collecting data to compare
There are multiple ways to collect data for a comparison website.
Directly from merchants: Price comparison sites can collect data directly from merchants. Retailers who want to list their products on the website then supply their own lists of products and prices through merchant feeds, and these are matched against the original database.
API’s: There are sites which provide data through API’s. Integrating the API can solve the problem for you. However, API’s are expensive.
Web scraping: Web Scraping is another option to collect data which focus more on the transformation of unstructured data on the web in a structured form. Web sites change their pattern quite often, so there should be a system to monitor the quality of data being extracted and the collected data has to be stored in a data warehouse. This is the cost effective way to get data for your comparison website.
Normalization and Comparison of products
Web sites use different naming conventions for the listed products. Let’s take a case of a product say ‘apple iPhone 6 plus’ in different e-commerce platforms. All variants and naming used in all different stores for iPhone 6 plus, apple iPhone 6 plus should be mapped to a single product. There should be an intelligent way to map all these products automatically to make price comparison possible. This is done by a mixture of information extraction, fuzzy logic, and human effort.
Visualizing compared results
User experience plays a vital role in the success of a digital product. The results should be presented in a way that it is super easy for the user to find what he needs. It increases customer satisfaction and productivity, leads to customer trust and loyalty. So a direct increase in ROI and profitability. There are several areas where we can apply the principle of comparison engines. Some of those are online shopping, online hotel reservation, travel. insurance, vehicles etc. The presentation will vary depending on what we compare and result of the comparison.
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