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How e-commerce sites can avoid Dynamic Pricing backlash

March 28, 2015 | All Automated Threats Bot Prevention Technologies

Dynamic pricing is one of the most important strategies used by e-commerce portals to influence consumer-buying decisions and optimize revenue. It’s a highly successful approach across the globe to grow in an increasingly crowded market. It not only benefits the ecommerce portals, but also increases value for the end consumers as well.

But, lately we have observed some new dimensions foraying into the scene and are clearly impacting the Dynamic Pricing approach and making it work against the e-commerce Portals. Yes, this is a two edged sword and before it’s too late, business leaders should consider equipping their sites with the right scraping prevention solution to continue their winning streak.

Well, let’s do a deep dive into the details to understand what’s really happening out there.

One such incident which showed dynamic pricing can work against the portal; it was a major backlash where the end consumers went all out on social media quoting it as a Pricing Scam. But if anyone closely observes, what all these e-commerce sites do, they just leverage Dynamic Pricing model and there’s nothing wrong.

The major culprit seems to be 3rd party Price Scraping provider. This provider scrapes the prices of entire catalogue of e-commerce sites, which is of course against their terms and conditions.

Besides providing the scraped pricing information to the end customers, these 3rd party price scraping provider also go ahead and display it on the e-commerce site’s web page itself (the users have to install a plug-in for this to happen) in a user interface that almost merges it with the e-commerce page theme. This causes confusion in the minds of the consumers and creates an impression that the dynamic pricing is a pricing scam.

how to stop price scraping bots

Image taken from Quora Discussion on the topic. A 3rd party plug-in embedded pricing history graph into the e commerce page.

These Price scraping bots are religiously doing the same thing on a daily basis to numerous e-commerce portals putting their business at stake. This menace should end.

If all the e-commerce portals are equipped to pro-actively block the bots that scrape their pages regularly for prices, they could actually avoid the backlashes.

Though they mention that scraping of pages is not tolerable and they could bar the activity (In their Website Terms and Conditions), they are not being able to successfully block these price scraping bot programs real time.

Major setbacks with Price Scraping Bots

  • By providing the pricing history to end-consumers, the price scraping bots delay their buying decision and also make them go to another website.
  • Another breed of the price scraping bots provide pricing information of the entire catalog to the competitors real-time and they use it as Competitive intelligence to gain competitive advantage.
  • In addition to the above, the price scraping bots drain the infrastructure resources and impact the genuine user experience on the portal.

Bot Prevention is no more a task for Ecommerce Portals that can be delayed or delegated to someone in the IT team; the time has come for it to be considered as the No.1 priority by the business leaders.

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