If you have a brick-and-mortar store, your competition is pretty limited to the other stores in your area. If you have an online store however, your competition is pretty much anyone in the world that sells the same product as you. It can be difficult, time consuming and often just impossible to keep track of all of your competitors in an online space and find a way to make sure you stand out as one among thousands.
Many eCommerce sites use web scraping services to keep tabs on their online environment. Web scraping involves crawling through all visible content on a website or websites and extracting desired data. This data can then be compiled into a report. If you use an automated web scraping service, this report is pretty effortless to generate. If you are manually scraping the data yourself, it involves some tedious copy and pasting.
Web scraping can be used to generate all types of data from pricing information to social media sentiments. As we know well, businesses rely on data to make informed business decisions through a clear picture of both their own business performance and their market.
For an eCommerce site, web scraping is a powerful business tool, as your entire business environment is on the internet. Here are just a few ways that you can use web scraping to benefit your online store:
One of the most popular ways that anyone from an eBay seller to Amazon can use web scraping is to set competitive pricing. By crawling the websites of competitors, you can find out what others are charging and where the opportunity might be for your own product’s price. Price optimisation helps your business by allowing you to increase profits.
In additions to crawling your competitors sites for pricing information, you can also crawl for product information. See what products your competitors are selling, what they aren’t selling and where you can either compete on the things they are selling or differentiate based on what they aren’t.
Web scraping can give you a clearer picture of who your customers are and what they want and need. Data such as customer demographics and review sentiments can help you build customer profiles and determine how to better target your offerings.
Customer insights collected from reviews and social media can also be used to influence product development. By quickly assessing how customers feel about your products or things they want or need, you can get a jump on research and development.
The customer data gathered by web scraping services also allows you to create better, more targeted ads. Customer insights such as online behaviors and sentiments expressed on social media can help you decide where and how to best target your customers with advertisements.
Big online retailers can have tons of suppliers and getting product information from all of them can be a huge task. By using a web scraper to collect product information from supplier websites, you can quickly and efficiently get the information you need to sell the products, such as product descriptions, images, specifications and pricing.
As with all data collection, web scraping can provide valuable insights to direct and inspire business strategies. Sales strategies, marketing strategies and growth strategies, among others, can be influenced by data gathered through web scraping.
The added benefit with a web scraping service is that you can do all of these things quickly, with current data. When you manually gather data, whether from manual web scraping or traditional research methods such as focus groups and surveys, it takes time. Automated data collection allows you to continuously improve your business and stay a step ahead of the competition.