How Web Scraping Can Help Your Ecommerce Business
Conversions are the foundation on which your business lives and dies.
Unfortunately for most brands, only around 22% are satisfied with their conversion rates, according to Econsultancy’s 2016 Conversion Rate Optimization Report.
Considering all that goes into improving conversions rates, it is certainly an uphill battle. Everything from SEO to the checkout process must be considered and optimized; this can be a long and challenging process.
One of the greatest hurdles, however, comes down to the very items that a store carries. What is sold? For how much? Is there buzz around these products? How many others carry the same merchandise and how much are they selling for?
To understand how to gain a leg up over your rivals, you need to understand what the competition is doing; this is how you will make appropriate decisions for your business.
The reality is, your brand likely has thousands of competitors all over the web. This equates to potentially millions of products, hundreds of thousands of customer purchases, and an equal amount of reviews that your business needs to be aware of, account for and analyze.
Fortunately, the digital age always has a solution up its sleeve. In this instance, it's web scraping.
Web scraping is a data collection process used for web indexing, data mining, harvesting real estate listings, monitoring changes to websites, and surfacing contact information. There are, however, many other ways to use web scraping tools.
Here are a few uber potent ways for ecommerce owners to leverage web scraping technology that can boost conversions and potentially save your online store from shutting its digital doors for good.
Prices matter to consumers; if they can save a buck or two, most will jump through hoops to do so. In today’s connected economy, 80% of consumers visit various online destinations to compare prices before making their ultimate decision.
This phenomenon has become so widespread and prevalent that comparison shopping engines have come on the scene; their sole purpose is to gather product information such as prices and descriptions so that consumers can get the best deal possible.
These engines can sometimes operate by allowing retailers to submit their product info. Most often, however, they are powered by web scraping technologies.
Of course, there is nothing stopping retailers from creating their own comparison services, but that information is more valuable when used to create a more competitive pricing strategy.
By continually monitoring and tracking the prices that competitors have listed on their sites with web scrapers, brands are able to supply their customers with the best offers available.
This technology can also be used to inform shipping strategies, product availability, and other meaningful areas for consumers, but there is one field where web scraping is a total game-changer.
As stated earlier, web scraping is often used as a means of gathering contact information to build email lists of prospective leads.
Users can gather thousands of potential leads in just a few minutes by identifying a website where their target audience is likely to visit, building an API with their chosen web scraper to extract the data, and placing all the information in a spreadsheet for your sales team to work from.
Alternatively, there are web scraping tools specifically designed to uncover a person’s contact information.
An example of one such engine that many are familiar with is Norbert. This tool uses an individual’s name and website domain to scrape the internet to find their corporate email address.
This type of engine makes list building a simple and streamlined process for harvesting quality prospects that your brand can contact and turn into loyal customers.
Reviews are another massive factor in the retail industry on both the merchant and consumer ends of the spectrum.
Reviews help to dictate pricing strategies, “availability,” and consumer confidence.
While anyone can hop on Yelp and check out how people are talking about a specific brand, this site doesn’t paint a complete picture.
In today’s world, social media reviews are becoming an increasingly important factor for online businesses. This has been clearly illustrated by the fact that Facebook influenced 52% of consumer’s online and offline purchases in 2015; and it’s not like Facebook is losing its influencing power.
Reviews don’t just impact consumer ad merchant decisions; it also has some level of control in SEO as well.
Tracking down all the various reviews and mentions floating around on the web, however, is pretty much an impossible task to conduct manually.
This is where using web scraping technology not only becomes convenient, but necessary. With this type of tool, a brand can scrape reviews from thousands of websites simultaneously.
This is the type of edge many small businesses need when competing with ecommerce monoliths such as Amazon.
When brands have real-time information about their store’s effectiveness, they are empowered to create an atmosphere that buyers love. Since the ecommerce world is so bloody dynamic, this type of data is invaluable.
Information like this can help brands see where high-traffic areas are still garnering low conversions, which is likely indicative of a CTA-related issue. The data can also point to how various internal and external links are performing, and which may need to be fixed for maximum results.
Having access to all this information is the key to making wise and informed business decisions that will have prosperous results.
But harvesting this data on the fly is not going to cut it, unless you have a small army at the ready.
Web scrapers can get you this type of intelligence in real-time so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly. This allows you to spend the bulk of your time making improvements, rather than gathering data.
By leveraging web scraping technology, your brand stands to gain the type of data it needs to make more informed marketing and sales decisions. This can help to increase traffic and sales, manifest ideal conversation rates, and ultimately, save your business.
You might also be interested in
Shezagary has been a Project Strategist since 2009 and also involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for over 5 years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. You can also follow her on Twitter @shezagary