As a retailer in an e-commerce space, you cannot afford to pass on web scraping. And here’s why – if you keep losing to your competitors, they probably already collect data on popular demand and acceptable pricing. Chances are, they keep a record of your e-commerce data, too.
Can you start scraping Amazon, eBay, and similar marketplaces right now? The short answer is – yes. Here’s everything you need to know about web scraping e-commerce websites.
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What Is Web Scraping & Why Should You Care?
Web scraping is the process of extracting large amounts of data from websites. It’s a valuable tool that helps individuals and businesses speed up online research and collect accurate, reliable, and relevant data for informed decision-making. Anyone can scrape data from the web.
Real-life applications of web scraping are limitless. Thanks to its immense strategic value and versatility, the practice is embraced by organizations across industries – including e-commerce.
The Benefits of Web Scraping for E-Commerce
Data scraping is very popular among online retailers. It’s a go-to source of information for Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Walmart, and many other e-commerce giants. Do you have any idea why?
As you probably already know, growing an e-commerce shop is not exactly a walk in the park. The U.S. e-commerce market will reach over $1.1 trillion in sales in 2023, but great demand draws competition issues. You and thousands of businesses like you need to fight for consumer attention.
Knowing what the consumer wants helps a great deal. And that’s where web scraping enters the scene. Since there are too many e-commerce websites, collecting information from them manually is no longer possible. Luckily, web scraping allows you to automate at-scale data extraction.
The benefits of doing so are numerous, and they all contribute to business growth:
- Competitive Pricing – Get to know competitors’ prices and learn what current value-for-money is for your industry and market;
- Competitor Research – Gain insight into your competitors’ growth strategies and monitor their progress;
- Product Research – Make decisions based on competitors’ product launch information, product descriptions, and customer reviews;
- Reputation Management – Scrape websites like Trustpilot for an objective view of your products and services;
- Forecasting – Monitor trends and gain a deeper understanding of current and future customer needs and behavior;
- Lead Generation – Turn your competitors’ unimpressed visitors into leads and their failed strategy into your success;
- Improved Marketing – Get to know your target audience better and tailor your marketing campaigns accordingly.
In a word, web scraping for e-commerce equips you with superior knowledge about the current state of your market. It’s a steadfast way of retaining a competitive edge against fierce odds.
How to Scrape Numerous E-Commerce Websites
To collect data from multiple e-commerce websites, you need a powerful web scraping tool and a way to circumvent potential barriers. There are many different kinds to choose from depending on your needs, and you might be able to build your own web scraper if there isn’t a good fit for you.
Bear in mind that building a web scraper requires advanced coding knowledge, so it often makes more sense to choose an online web scraping service in combination with a reliable proxy.
Why do you need a proxy? We’ll get there in a minute, but first, we have some tips on how to make the most of web scraping for Amazon, eBay, and other massive e-commerce marketplaces:
Do Your Due Diligence
Don’t scrape all data just because you can. Instead, do your market research first and determine which websites can provide valuable information. Website data must be in HTML, or the scraper won’t be able to read it. Also, ensure that data is not geo-sensitive but relevant to your market.
Don’t Get Too Greedy
Web scrapers can collect data way faster than humans. Naturally, you’d want to leverage that speed for extracting information for many websites simultaneously. However, if your scraper sends too many requests, that will raise some flags. Be careful about this, or it might get you blocked and banned.
Have a Reliable Proxy
A proxy server will protect your web scraper from getting blacklisted. The best types of proxy servers for scraping Amazon and similar sites are static residential proxies, rotating residential proxies, and mobile proxies. Data center proxies could work, too, but they are more suitable for smaller sites.
Advantages and Difficulties of E-Commerce Web Scraping
All things considered, web scraping is an excellent way to gain leverage in a competitive market such as e-commerce. That said, this practice comes with a couple of difficulties to counterweight the apparent advantages. Here’s what’s good and what could be problematic in e-commerce web scraping.
- Large-scale data extraction;
- Automation and efficiency;
- Saving time and resources;
- Actionable market insight.
- Getting blacklisted/blocked;
- Requires field experience;
- Scraping could be illegal.
With some experience and a good proxy server, you should be able to avoid getting blacklisted from specific websites. However, there’s a question of legality. Please remember that web scraping is legal only if the data is publicly available and is not private and password-protected.
Being in e-commerce and not having the means to feel your audience’s pulse will not get you far in today’s climate. Luckily, web scraping offers the only solution you need. Whether you choose an online web scraping service or build your own, don’t forget to get a trusty proxy server as well.