With cut-throat competition in every niche, you just cannot ignore what your competitors are doing. In the e-commerce business, one company’s move can impact the others within seconds. It is, therefore, extremely important to know exactly what your competitor is doing at all times.
Some of these are in-your-face, with discounts and other promotional activities present on the website, others like customer reviews, social media posts, paid advertising and others are not easily available.
To get all this important data, you need to scrape data from e-commerce websites. This means gathering and getting access to the data that is available online. All this can be done through a process called data scraping or web crawling. Though some people, who are unaware of data scraping services, try to do manual copy-pasting and searching and matching content, this is highly cumbersome and impractical. If you are genuinely interested in knowing what your competitors are doing in real-time, you must invest in e-commerce web scraping services.
Why ecommerce data scraping is not child’s play
Ecommerce website scraping has to be done in such a way that it does not affect the ecommerce website’s daily transactions or working. This is easier said than done. For conducting scraping ecommerce website services you need a team of experienced and knowledgeable web scrapers who know how to get the data from the target website. This has to be done ethically and professionally- there should not be any chances of unintentional damage to the target website.
Many websites are hostile to the whole process of ecommerce website scraping. This is one more reason why ecommerce web scraping requires specialized knowledge to get what is needed.
There are still many other challenges faced by ecommerce web scrapers
- You need different scrapers working on different websites. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is because the web structures of each website differ. Any kind of update to the website will need a different web scraping approach.
- Some websites do not allow permission to scrape them. They get this done by implementing special coding to their websites. This makes it especially difficult to scrape websites where such coding is implemented.
- Many websites ask for CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) when you try to scrape them. These are easy for humans to do but challenging for scrapers to bypass. There are many mechanisms available to scrape data by avoiding CAPTCHA, but this is a challenging process nevertheless.
- Some websites use ‘honeypot’ traps to block scrapers from scraping data. These invisible links aren’t available to humans but are accessible by the scrapers. These websites use these links to identify scrapers and block the scraping process. However, there are ways to go about this process.
- Web scraping requires a lot of secure data storage. For large-scale data extraction, scrapers require a professional setup where this can be done easily and safely.
- There has to be a constant check of the data which is available after scraping. It should be relevant to the business as important business decisions are made based on it. Anything can happen online, the data scraped can be useless after a few days if it is not as per the given requirements.
- Care has to be taken to ensure the data is scraped at a time when the website’s servers aren’t overwhelmed. If you start the scraping process at a time when there is a lot of activity on the website, there is a high chance that the servers could crash, creating a bad user experience for its users. Scrapers, therefore, have to analyze the website and choose an appropriate time to scrape data to avoid any damage (and other potential issues) to the website.
Irrespective of these challenges, there are many data scraping service companies like SmartScrapers who specialize in getting the relevant data to your business. Though website scraping isn’t that expensive, many business owners do not know how important this can be to help them make sound business decisions. Yet others try to get business leads by using data scraping tools, but, as we mentioned, these are hardly effective when it comes to getting the relevant data. Sometimes, you may not even know how relevant this data actually is.
By considering this as a part of your marketing expense, this is just a small investment that can get you great results. The current data scraping industry is in its infancy and many e-commerce businesses make business decisions after they see them being implemented on competitor’s websites. This can be too little, too late and may not have the right impact needed.
Once you start and test data scraping services for yourself, we are sure you will rely on this service for further use. Using the help of data scraping experts, you would be able to stay a step ahead of your online e-commerce-based competition. It is time to grab market share, legally and safely.