How to Use Web Scraping in E-Commerce for Strategic Marketing & Advertising Decisions

How to Use Web Scraping in E-Commerce for Strategic Marketing & Advertising Decisions
Last edit: May 22, 2024

When you are going to run your business on the Internet, you have to be prepared for fierce competition on a global level. In 2023, it is expected that the growth of business-to-consumer e-commerce sales will reach 8.9%, resulting in a total volume of almost $6 trillion. So to get ahead of your competitors, gain customer trust and make your brand recognizable, you need to use the latest technology to gather quality, relevant information.

One of the factors driving e-commerce growth is the use of web scraping practices. It helps companies make serious, informed business decisions based on relevant web data, leading to increased revenue and a better understanding of customer needs. In the data-driven world of online retail, website scraping can turn a brand into a major player.

What is e-Commerce Scraping?

E-commerce data is the collection of any data type from e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces. Such data may include:

  • Customer data, such as demographic information, search terms, interests, preferences, and so on.
  • Product data, such as price ranges, stock availability, delivery methods, ratings, etc.

Companies use web scraping to track trends and prices, analyze and monitor competitors' activities so they can then compare them to their own, and make important changes.

Most e-commerce data is public, as e-commerce platforms display product and transaction data for customers.

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7 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Use e-Commerce Scraping

Web scraping has now become a well-known strategy that e-commerce companies heavily rely on for product information.

For example, they help in determining customer preferences or identifying trends in online buying behavior. Online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, eBay, and others have benefited tremendously from web scraping and still do for many years.

Web scraping is indeed a highly effective commercial technique and can also be used to capture a wide range of other web data, from payment options to social media sentiment research.

Here are some of the main reasons to use web scraping in e-commerce:

Competitor Price Monitoring

Competitor price research is one of the main uses of web scraping. 94% of online shoppers compare prices before purchasing an item. As dynamic pricing models become more and more popular, it makes sense for businesses to conduct thorough research and price their offerings correctly to maximize conversions.

Gathering information from e-commerce platforms can help companies understand overall product pricing in the marketplace, research competitors, and customize their pricing, promotions, and sales campaigns.

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Monitor Product Performance

Using retail and customer data, such as reviews and feedback, you can track product development in the marketplace and work on improving it.

By comparing data about your product with data about similar products from competitors, you can gain valuable insights, including the value of the product in the marketplace, its position among competitors, or which ones bring in more profit.

With a good report at your fingertips on customer sentiment, opinions, likes, and preferences, you can align product development and marketing strategies with market demands and trends. The result will be increased productivity and profitability.

Better Advertisements

Web scraping APIs help not only in improving products but also in developing better, more personalized, and targeted ads.

With more information about consumer behavior and opinions, you can tailor ad content and target customers with relevant offers.

IP-enabled web scraping can provide data about a customer's buying path, such as their search queries, location, or comments on certain products, as well as seasonal or recurring requirements.

With this accurate data, you can launch a targeted, relevant campaign based on location, market trends, and customer behavior.

Web scraping will ensure that organizations develop more effective and successful strategies for the future. The data extracted from the Internet will open up many opportunities for business projects that will fit you and the position you want to take.

With an understanding of the market, its players, and consumer behavior, you can create an accurate forecast of your future market using current metrics.

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Improve Marketing Strategies

Because of the sheer number of customers, the online marketplace has become a huge dataset of supply and demand. To formulate a really workable marketing strategy, you need to have the most up-to-date information about the market at all times.

Web scraping can provide these valuable insights related to new business strategies. It uses a variety of methods to create a better understanding of your competitors, and their strategies and determine the right sales and growth approach based on up-to-date data. You'll additionally enhance your product development and optimize your customer experience.

That way, the strategy you create will always justify the investment and help the business reach heights.

Consumer Sentiment Analysis

Every business has customers whose interests and preferences it focuses on. To identify them, you need access to large volumes of information.

Web scraping can help you identify your ideal customers, and their preferences, learn even the smallest details about them and personalize content to improve engagement. Identifying customer demographics is also crucial, and sentiment in reviews and social media will help you build personas and profiles of your customers for more effective marketing and advertising campaigns.

By doing so, you'll know exactly what you need to improve in your brand to attract and interest them.

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Keep Listings Up to Date

Unlike physical stores, where the customer can see the product before they buy it, online shoppers have to rely on the product information on the store's website. Customers will leave your site if you don't offer sufficiently rich, relevant content on product pages.

And while manually keeping listings up to date used to be a lengthy process, with people spending hours each day copying information, automatic updates are now a much more efficient way to do it.

By using catalog data extraction, including images, color and size options, descriptions, product features, and reviews, you'll never lose the updates you need to keep your business running and growing.

Pages with rich product descriptions not only help familiarize customers with product features and benefits but also help them rank better on search engine results pages.

Why is Real-time Data Important for e-Commerce?

The speed at which companies collect data about users is enormous. Even simple information such as age or online activity can help provide useful insights to build vital strategies and a roadmap for your business.

But successful personalization requires complex processing of big data. Metrics aren't just for long-term, large-scale planning. They are a powerful tool for day-to-day operations. And for that, you need real-time information. The most important applications of real-time metrics are:

  • to manage the day-to-day operations of the company;
  • identifying sudden problems or errors to respond quickly.

So what e-commerce metrics should you be tracking in real-time, anyway?

For real-time metrics to be useful, they must be able to lightning-fast identify key opportunities or problems and provide information to understand where those opportunities or problems are coming from.

  • Website traffic through marketing channels. A sudden spike in traffic could indicate, for example, a competitor's bots that should be blocked, an unexpected post that went viral on social media, and so on. Depending on the source of the traffic, you may want to take immediate action.
  • Cumulative daily revenue. This metric is useful to track your highest revenue days to make sure performance meets expectations.
  • Site speed by platform. A sudden sharp drop in speed is often the first sign of problems with your site.
  • The number of HTTP errors by site platform. A sudden spike in HTTP errors can indicate problems with your site. For example, a spike in 404 errors may indicate a bad link placed in marketing materials. Such a link should be fixed to a working link.

What are the Challenges of Scraping e-Commerce Websites?

Large-scale Extraction

For e-Commerce store owners, large-scale data extraction is often a major challenge in web scraping.

Imagine the daily work of managing an e-commerce platform with 20+ subcategories within one main category. That's over a hundred products. And such a platform has at least 15 to 20 main product categories. Now imagine trying to extract data about all the products from all the subcategories. Not only does this monotonous work take up your time, but it also results in poor data quality and accuracy.

And how much work it takes to filter and refine all that data with a spreadsheet and data analysis to get actionable insights or any other information you need.

The problem can be solved in two ways.

  • The first option is to create your own in-house team of specialists who will collect and analyze the data. However, this work will still be tedious and rather monotonous for them.
  • The other option is to use a web scraping tool. With it, an in-house team will only be responsible for making sure that the tool collects the right data. An intuitive web scraping tool will help you get better results with less effort. It's easy to use, secure and minimizes maintenance costs.

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Anti-scraping Techniques

Data collection is not illegal or prohibited. However, almost every website owner wants to protect their data as much as possible. They often use CAPTCHA and other web scraping protections to prevent bots from accessing the information.

Most websites deny bots access, while others detect and blacklist IP addresses. Some site administrators go to great lengths to create digital traps to trick bots into blocking their access.

For example, the purpose of CAPTCHA is to prevent inappropriate traffic being imposed on the site.

But there is a solution to the problem. There are many anti-CAPTCHA providers capable of solving complex CAPTCHAs, such as mathematical or image-based CAPTCHAs.

 There are also advanced bots that can recognize and bypass blockers. You can use IP proxies, IP address rotation, and session management to bypass anti-captcha software.

Access the Data You Need

In e-commerce, product prices and features vary depending on the user's location.

To get the most accurate view of product prices or features, companies need to query each product from a different location. This adds another layer of complexity to an e-commerce web scraping proxy pool, as it would require a proxy pool that contains proxies from different locations to gather this kind of information.

Of course, it is possible to manually configure a proxy pool to use only certain proxies for specific projects. But this can become very complicated as the number and complexity of web scraping projects increases. So to avoid wasting time and resources, it's best to use an automated approach to proxy selection.

Reliability & Data Quality

As we mentioned earlier, the point of web scraping is to get relevant data and information. So the problem with data scraping is that it may not be useful for your marketing purposes and may not help you stay competitive in the marketplace. Basically, any failures or problems with data reliability are a major concern for those using web scraping.

Scattered data is normal because the web scraper collects content from different sources. The information may be repetitive, no longer relevant, or even unreliable.

It can also be the case that e-commerce sites are purposely passing incorrect product data into queries if they think they're getting it from web scrapers.

Then how do you ensure the quality of the data when scraping it?

The first is to check the quality of the data scraping bot. This is how you determine the effectiveness of the bot and can make the necessary changes.

The second is to have a solid and reliable proxy management infrastructure and an automated QA process. You will get rid of the headache of having to manually configure and troubleshoot proxy problems.

To avoid wasting your time and resources on this, you may want to hire outside experts to do this work for you. It's often cheaper, and you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, web scraping has limitless benefits for e-Commerce entrepreneurs. Any business that eschews this practice is definitely missing out on a lot. Clearly, the ease of access to quality information is critical to many aspects of an e-commerce business, such as product formulation, development, and sales.

Effective e-commerce web scraping requires technical know-how and has several advantages, such as it can help you analyze vast amounts of information, develop company plans and save time at the same time.

So instead of doing all of these monotonous chores yourself, you can use web scraping services and tools. While you can concentrate on business development.

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  • CSV, XLSX, and JSON Formats
  • No Coding or Software Required
  • Save Time and Effort
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Alexandra Datsenko
Alexandra Datsenko
Alexandra Datsenko’s profile

I’m a content creator who loves to write about web scraping and techniques for extracting information from websites. Here I will share with you some of my favorite tools, tips, and tricks for data extraction and how to use them in your business.