Web crawling is the technical definition of fetching data from the internet. There are countless use cases for publicly available collection. In this article, I will dive deep into the world of eCommerce, data, and the formidable connection between the two.
Nowadays, it is possible to retrieve and use almost any type of data from virtually any website. The companies who are considering themselves data-driven, who are basing their decisions on data, will rule over their competition.
Web crawling for eCommerce websites allows developers/companies to get pricing data of products, conduct keyword research, track ranks of products, monitor reviews, discover new niches and best-selling products, and much more.
Numerous industries work with APIs for getting data, but in the eCommerce world, APIs are rare and the data needs to be extracted via going through multiple pages. Therefore a web crawler is necessary.
Keyword Research with Web Crawling
WhileWhen deciding what product you should launch next is, keyword research is naturally one of the significant parts of the process. We should understand what customers are searching, how many times each search is conducted per month, and what current products rank for the popular keywords. Keyword research is particularly important on Amazon, where the competition is extremely high and most traffic and purchases are generated through organic search on the platform itself.
With web crawling, we can get the data of the existing products and sellers on Amazon (or any other eCommerce website) for a particular keyword or list of keywords and can reveal opportunities of products where the leading sellers have a little number of reviews, bad reviews or both.
Comparing a few different platforms (matching eBay to Amazon for example) might give us some more data about what keywords customers are searching for since each platform has a bit of a different word suggestion engine.
Crawling for Product Reviews
Understanding the voice of your customers is probably one of the most important aspects of eCommerce nowadays. When launching a new product, it is important to understand the flaws and points of failure with the market’s existing products. It might be products of yours that you want to improve or products of your competition.
Product reviews have another aspect, which is monitoring. Dealing with bad reviews is not only essential but also needs to be done fast. Since Amazon and many other eCommerce platforms don’t send notifications for new reviews, it might take you time to find out about new 1-2 star reviews for your products. Implementing review monitoring can improve your customer service dramatically.
Crawling for Products
Searching for new products or understanding your competition isn’t easy to do without the supporting data. Crawling many product pages and comparing their data allows sellers to get deeper insights such as flaws in their products, where their competitors are improving their products over time, to identify blue oceans, and to find out what new players in the market are up to.
One customer agreed to share a very interesting product crawling operation they do weekly. They crawl different Amazon domains comparing the Amazon.com store to different marketplaces in Europe, and this way, they identify amazing opportunities for launching products in the European market.
When a customer sees a product, two things matter the most: reviews and price. The reviews are more of an absolute thing that is harder to change on the spot, but your products’ pricing can be changed instantly, even using software to do it automatically.
Sometimes it is ridiculous how much the eCommerce world is price-based and how much price fluctuations affect sellers. Many sellers aren’t aware of the intense price wars on platforms like Amazon or eBay, and this is where repricing solutions come into place. Good repricing needs solid data over time, and without crawling for prices it is impossible to assess the correct price range to set a seller’s products for.
Price crawling is essential when you compare pricing across multiple websites since nowadays there are many tools to find the best price across different platforms.
The difference between Crawling and Scraping for eCommerce
The difference between Crawling and Scraping is a bit confusing. Crawling is moving between links on a page and collecting new links to scrape. The outcome is usually a list of links to pages of which data is to be extracted. Scraping is getting data from a specific page. In the eCommerce realm, crawling can be exploring a search link on Amazon for product page links, and scraping is getting data like the price, description, or image, from a product page.
Usually scraping for anything related to eCommerce requires crawling first. The main case in which it is not true, is for scraping over time for the same data points. For example, if a seller wants to get all of the reviews for their products, there is no need to crawl the items prior to scraping, since the links are constant and will not change.
Data is becoming the art of the future, and eCommerce is turning to be controlled by those who control and hold data. I hope I managed to shed some light on this matter and as a seller, brand owner, or designing an eCommerce tool for sellers – you understand a bit more about this world. Most sellers will not necessarily spend their time on developing a software based solution for better sales, but the bigger sellers who will venture into the world of data will have amazing power over their competitors.
The main issue of finding what data to crawl and how to combine all of it into insightful, meaningful data points is very confusing, due to the complexity of this operation.
If you are not currently using data in your eCommerce business, you are probably missing a lot of hanging fruits you can just reach and pick.