Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

5 places professional web scrapers look for crystal clear ecommerce insights

By Gediminas Rickevicius, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Oxylabs

Wherever you find an ecommerce platform there is data waiting to be analysed. While there is no doubt that some platforms are more protective than others, the power of ethical web scraping can still be harnessed to extract public data from most sources.

More data doesn’t mean better quality data, however. The most useful data depends on the source, which makes all the difference in the efficiency of the entire data scraping and analysis pipeline. Here are five places to discover data gems that can power your ecommerce strategy:

1. Product keywords & rankings

Keywords play an integral role in ranking, and ranking is undoubtedly a primary factor in sales. According to Protofuse, less than 10% of people advance to the second page of search engine results and the first position rakes in 42.5% of clicks on desktop devices. Since keywords contribute to ranking, scraping for keywords is absolutely essential for writing optimised titles and descriptions that contribute to higher product rankings. 

The same tactics can be used for competition monitoring – especially by service providers looking to sell data sets to clients in specific ecommerce spaces. By scraping data from various places, service providers can give an entire overview of the landscape and tailor strategies to each customer.

2. Product IDs

Product IDs can provide valuable insights as part of a long-term data scraping strategy that tracks particular products. Product IDs can be scraped to create an index specific to a platform that tracks changes over time. This allows for the creation of data sets that can enable service providers to deliver accurate recommendations as part of a powerful ecommerce SEO strategy. 

3. Product categories & bestsellers

“You are not your customer” – is a common saying in marketing circles that encourages sellers to dive deep into the consumer psyche for unique insights they may not have considered. Lists of best-selling products in their respective categories are a great place to look for this information. Bestseller data in each category reveals business opportunities through overall category performance, ranking fluctuations and prices. 

Any historical and real-time data scraped from products listed in one category can reveal shifts in popularity, customer sentiment and common pain points that can signal opportunities to enter the market. 

Scraping product data and ratings provides insights on what makes a bestseller from the development side, while scraping category performance, rankings, and fluctuations provides insights into the marketing side. Sellers benefit from tracking relevant category bestsellers and sold products through insights into avenues for improvement. Service providers can also scrape keywords, rankings, and product data to provide ranking strategies for SEO purposes.

4. Upcoming items

Part of the power of big data lies in the ability to model and make predictions. When enough data is scraped from ecommerce platforms, projections can increase in accuracy. Finding upcoming items that stand to gain popularity can be a goldmine for sellers, and it’s possible to discover them early through conclusions made from existing data sets.

Trends can be easily uncovered through sections on ecommerce platforms that feature upcoming bestsellers. When those sections are unavailable, the process can be done manually by scraping volume, keywords, and changing prices. Sellers can track every category for market movers if the resources are available, otherwise they can engage the services of a third-party consultant that creates these data sets for sale to other businesses in the ecommerce space.

5. Review pages & comments

Review pages with user comments are a treasure trove of valuable information about products, including flaws, strengths and areas for improvement. Sections with user feedback can reveal valuable marketing angles that can be added to descriptions as part of a product sales strategy. 

Sellers benefit from scraping consumer feedback through increased awareness on how to improve current products and create new ones. Service providers can extract consumer review data to help businesses refine their product development strategy.

Successful scraping requires sophisticated extraction tools

Datacentre and residential proxies are a fundamental component of the professional web scrapers toolkit that allows them to spread requests evenly and avoid server issues from ecommerce websites. Since proxies vary in quality, ethically-sourced proxies provide the most stable connections for increased data extraction success.

Some complex ecommerce sites require increasingly sophisticated solutions. That’s where next-generation proxy solutions come in. Solutions leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are now available that adapt to complex and ever-changing website layouts in order to extract data from the most complicated product pages.

Wrapping up

The internet is always expanding and ecommerce data continues to expand accordingly. A successful web scraping strategy requires knowing where to look, creating a plan, and choosing the most effective tools to complete the job.