Market intelligence or MI is the information on company’s markets, which is acquired, as well as, analyzed, solely for the purpose of decision making in terms of market opportunity, development, and penetration strategy.

Currently, almost every large retail company has OMI for marketing and pricing. Most, but not all applications of OMI are in the area of competitive intelligence. Online market intelligence (OMI) logically covers all aspects of MI that are related to online information sources, especially related to product pricing, therefore is a very important application area for Web data extraction.

Actually, conducting market research doesn’t always have to involve hiring a research firm or commissioning focus groups; much of the information you need may be literally at your fingertips and ready to be scraped and used to boost your business. This research can impact and inform all areas of your business, from where you locate your business to the color of your logo. Even a small amount of analysis can help you gauge the receptivity of your target market to your idea and at the same time wrongly made decisions can cost you serious financial trouble.

At the age of Big Data, web harvesting gives companies the exclusive opportunity to conduct their market research in real time and respond to changes accordingly, which will minimize losses and maximize sales opportunities. This is especially important for companies that build their businesses around price, quality, and competition.

But, first things first! What are some cases of companies benefiting from using data extraction in their market research? Let’s go through the most obvious ones to get a better insight into the practice, shall we?

1. Supermarkets and online retail businesses

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that every supermarket chain needs to be constantly informed about their competitors’ product pricing. In this case, sole information is not enough: immediate actions are required, in case competitor supermarket issues any super deals or discounts. Understandably, the timing of the action is of key importance if supermarkets want to maintain a competitive position in the market and offer better counter deals and discounts. The same is true in case new products appear in the market. More and more supermarkets use web scraping techniques as one of the most reliable and easiest ways to monitor their competitors and the market.

2. Travel agencies

Nowadays online travel agencies like to claim that they are offering the best price guaranteed. In order for them to live up to their claims and stay away from gaining a bogus company reputation, they need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the current changes in the market: conduct research and react in a timely manner. Moreover, they want to be informed about the average market prices of each travel product they feature. Taking into consideration the highly competitive nature of the travel industry, it is important to seek help from scraping experts and make the most of what data harvesting can offer in order to prosper business opportunities. With the information collected, it is easier not only to maintain competitive pricing but to also predict how market trends will change.

3. Real estate

When it comes to competition and market research importance, real estate industry is a hot area. Every week the house price index is updated in the country’s national statistics agency which obviously triggers changes in the industries related to real estate, as well. Therefore, it is necessary for companies to obtain online market intelligence by aggregating data such as asking prices, number of listings, and average time on market from the web pages of real estate agencies: and the easiest and fastest way to do so is by harvesting the web for data.

What all these cases have in common is that they all require large amounts of crucial data obtained from limited sources for the purpose of analyzing the relevant industry and drawing the necessary conclusions. The reason for it is that business markets of today’s world are extremely competitive and in order for your company to succeed among providers of the same service you need to have a better, more efficient and competitive online presence.

To achieve that and to solve common market research problems, hiring a web data extraction service or building an in-house data scraping team is the smartest move you can make and the best investment for your company.

Important tip: given that the relevant sources are usually known, and that the OMI applications require complete coverage of the sources and a very high level of data precision, manual or semi-automatic wrapper generators for the relevant sources are preferable to generic web harvesting tools.

To wrap it up, when investing in market research for your company, you need the assurance that you are getting the exact information needed to answer your toughest business questions at the best price. Always remember: data is a powerful tool for marketing, particularly for market research. Almost every business, be it a large supermarket chain, real estate agency or a travel agency relies on competition and online presence nowadays. The right information at the right time is of the utmost importance when it comes to reaching success in business. Web harvesting is a lot cheaper than employing a whole team of researchers to get the job done for you. Besides being cheap, it is also the fastest and the most efficient way to get the information you need.

Do you use data extraction as a tool for market research? We’ll love to read about your success story in the comments section below. Feel free to tell us all about it!