Keeping ahead of the competition is an age-old battle for any business. The rise of e-commerce has globalized markets and pushed modern market research and competitor monitoring online. Here, website scraping plays a crucial role.
As a method of data extraction, it allows companies to monitor competitor activity, automate workflows, or introduce machine learning. In the data-driven world of online retail, website scraping can transform a brand into a big player.
What is web scraping?
In short, it is the process of extracting data from websites. An automated tool for web scraping fetches a web page and reformats the useful data into a separate database. The process essentially ‘scrapes’ the desired information from the website and makes it readable and usable.
A web scraper will extract data for several purposes. These could be to aid machine learning, to allow for product analysis and market research, or even to facilitate workflow automation.
Is web scraping legal?
Web scraping isn’t hacking. It merely automates tasks that humans would otherwise do manually. So as long as you respect certain regulations and intellectual property of others and do not accumulate sensitive personal information, scraping is perfectly legal. Find out more in our article on the legality of web scraping.
What is e-commerce web scraping?
Companies can apply this software to scrape rival webpages and extract data from their business. They can use this information to analyze and monitor competitor activity, compare it to their own, and make valuable changes.
Keeping an eye on price and product developments is key to competing. Using a web scraper gives e-commerce companies the tools to do so. It has many particular advantages in e-commerce, so read on to find out the top 8 ways it can help grow your business.
What are the advantages of web scraping for e-commerce?
1. Optimized revenue
Competitor monitoring is difficult when online businesses keep changing their strategies. Adapting products and lowering prices can take customers and, ultimately, revenue away from your site.
By using a web scraper to extract data, you can monitor competitor prices and products. This detailed product analysis will allow you to adjust your own stock and prices accordingly. Thus, it helps to keep the revenue flowing into your business rather than your competitors’.
2. Improved efficiency
Uploading products can be time-consuming when your business relies on it. However, harvested data can automate these manual uploads and other workflows. The automation of these processes saves valuable time and improves the overall efficiency of your business.
3. Track product performance
Better product analysis is yet another perk of website scraping. By monitoring listings and sales data, it allows you to see how well different products are performing. Keeping track of your business has never been easier!
4. New content and ideas
New products and images pop up all over the internet, but they can be hard to get your hands on. Web scraping audits entire websites for both of the above, and much more. Your company doesn’t need to miss out on new material if you use this method of competitor monitoring.
5. Market analysis and machine learning
Data extraction is used for more than just monitoring competitor activity. The text, images, and other data gathered through website scraping can be used for market research or machine learning.
This allows you to use historical data more effectively for model training and improve the accuracy of your market analysis so that you can make better decisions.
6. Keep your listings up to date
Manually keeping your listings up to date can be a long process. Constant, automated updates are far more efficient. Website scraping provides this through data extraction for app-based catalog updates. This automation means that your listings will never be left behind the times.
7. Show customers what your competitors are doing
You can also automate your product customization process based on relevant market research. This type of competitor monitoring gives your customers an accurate overview of your rivals’ inventory and pricing tiers. When customers can monitor competitors, they can see the benefits of buying from your brand.
8. Constant improvements
The only constant in business is change, and making improvements to your existing model requires real feedback. Fortunately, this data extraction is very straightforward — web scrapers monitor products to collect feedback. You can use this to keep developing and bettering your online business.
Why use Apify?
There are a number of web scraping and automation platforms out there, so what makes Apify the top choice?
Finding a flexible platform that will work with your company based on your circumstances is essential. At Apify, we scale data extraction services to fit your needs, no matter how changeable the project.
Collect data from any website
You choose the site, Apify covers the data extraction. We’re not fussy — whether the website is in its early stages or fully developed, Apify scrapers can extract data from it.
Bypass anti-scraping protections
Competitor monitoring is not so appealing if you are the competitor. Some websites aim to limit market research by keeping their information to themselves.
Apify’s scraping tools can extract data even if there are anti-scraping measures in place. This makes competitor product analysis available to you even if it would normally be inaccessible.
Data from website scraping is used for a lot of things. It is what enables automation, machine learning, competitor monitoring, and even product analysis. This means you need fast, easy access to it.
You can easily push any data stored by Apify to your own databases via API. By storing your data in the cloud, Apify ensures you can access it at any time, from anywhere. You can download your data in lots of useful formats, including HTML table, JSON, CSV, Excel, XML, and RSS feed.
Whether you need data for automation, product analysis, or market research, Apify is with you for the long haul.
We offer both ready-made and custom web scraping solutions so that you can easily extract data from any site. As websites and goals change, we maintain and adjust to provide you with lasting, quality service.
Contact us today to see how Apify can work with you to provide a custom solution for your e-commerce business.
The bottom line
The online world is incredibly competitive and web scraping is the perfect way to keep on top. Not to mention, it can help you to capitalize on the recent and sizable explosion in online sales.
Your company may be looking towards machine learning, increased automation, or simply for a reliable way to monitor competitor activity. Apify is your one-stop-shop for all of the above and more. E-commerce is booming, and with the help of Apify, your business can be too!