Price Comparison Pro Development Feedback Required

Hi everyone – If you’ve been using Price Comparison Pro, you know how awesome it is at scraping prices from ANY website.

BUT – the configuration is a major pain. Even if you know how to create the CSS selectors, the current version of Price Comparison Pro still wants you to enter URLs for prices of products on EVERY product.

If you have a large affiliate store, even more than 100 products (and many of you have 100,000+!) then this is just not going to happen.

The old Price Comparison widget will stick around

 

Firstly, I’m keeping the old widget for backwards compatibility – some of you are using 10 shortcodes on ONE page with the old system, which I personally quite like. And the old version is also still going to be very useful for comparing prices of DIFFERENT products – because you can specify the URL in the old version, you can compare Nike vs Adidas vs Reebok trainers. There will be further improvements to the old widget in later releases to make this kind of ‘alternative product price comparison’ much easier to implement. But the old version is most likely to be used on blog pages or single post pages, rather than through WooCommerce where multiple URLs need to be configure per product.

Introducing ‘Search Comparison’

I don’t want you to have a configuration nightmare. And I don’t even expect all of you to understand CSS, although knowing CSS would be very helpful to all of you in styling your site however you wish regardless of your theme. So – I’ve been working hard on a stable and ultra-low configuration upgrade to Price Comparison Pro.

This new version requires the following configure site-wide:

  1. Website name (the name of the website you are scraping, e.g. eBay)
  2. Search URL (the config screen will ask you to search the target site for ‘wpintense’ and then paste the URL into the config)
  3. Affiliate URL generator (the config screen will need you to provide the affiliate URL generator – it will ask you to replace the destination URL with {url} so we can generate affiliate URLs for you on the fly)
  4. Logo URL
  5. (optional) A list of product category IDs which identify when to search this website
  6. Scrape type – direct, proxied, through our scraping service, or through our scraping service with a proxy – see below for more info.
  7. Currency identifiers (e.g. £, $, € – I can pick from WooCommerce, but if you’re using the Shortcode then I need to know the currency)

For example, if you configure 15 websites with the above information, and you ignore number (5) above, then your entire affiliate store will now do price comparison across ALL 15 websites automatically.

Here’s a screenshot of how the price comparison widget looks just now in development (the arrows need improvement):

Some notes on the above:

  • I’ve made the widget 340 pixels wide so it will fit on mobiles, but you will be able to restyle this using CSS and with enough demand from you, I will create additional styling options in the interface.
  • I did not create ANY CSS selectors for the above websites. I just provided the Search URL and the plugin substituted the search ‘msi ge62 laptop’ and then performed a very smart scrape.
  • You can see ‘spinners’ from ‘Save on Laptops’ and ‘Box.co.uk’ – these websites are using ‘lazy load’ to load their product images and as such, if you switch to using our scraping service you’ll get the actual image. The settings page for this widget/shortcode will allow you to choose the scraping service on a per-website basis to cater for this and reduce cost to you (also – I’ve created an option to let you make your OWN scraping service so you can avoid the monthly cost! This needs a couple of you to buy it for it be refined, but I’m aiming to ideally make a digital ocean snapshot so costs can be ultra low and all I need to do is transfer you the snapshot)
  • Style-wise – those arrows on the right let you scroll the ‘search results’ from each site left or right.
  • This is made with the focus on affiliate stores – there’s no reason it needs to be WooCommerce – the widget on the page only needs to know which websites to check and the search string (i.e. the product name).
  • There’s no restriction to what you can compare from search results – other than, the item needs to have a price, an image, a name and a dedicated product page in the search results. Given those 4 things, you can compare ANYTHING from ANY website.

Here’s another search, this time for ‘Xbox elite controller’ to show you that there is ZERO URL configuration required:

You can see above that the ‘Save on Laptops’ website returned zero results – I’ll move this website to a list below the widget to say they were checked but returned zero results.

Your Help and Feedback Requested

I’d like to ask for your help. I said in a previous blog that I was going to publish design-specs etc for plugins – this is the start of that – and I want as much feedback from you as possible so I get this update right.

Is there anything I’m missing? Should I add anything?

One thing I’m thinking would be nice would be if I added a ‘free text search results’ widget – this would mean you could have a search box on your site to allow users in your niche to search for products without the need to even have a woocommerce store. In this case, I’d imagine making the widget full screen width rather than 340px.

But maybe that’s dumb? Maybe I’m missing something else? Any help or comments you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Let me know in the comments box below.

Finally – here’s a video of the widget in action:

Chat to me

Dave Hilditch

Founder at WP Intense
Dave has been programming since 6 years old and has been developing WordPress plugins, themes and websites since 2010. In the past he built the browse view technology for Skyscanner and now he helps clients with interesting website challenges.

He is always on at least one of his computers when he's awake, so get in touch and he'll get right back to you.
Chat to me