Data Gathering for E-commerce and Why it Changes

Data Gathering for E-commerce and Why it Changes

Seeing Into the Future: Can Tarot Cards Predict the Future?Data gathering in e-commerce has always been a common practice. It is one of the best ways to discover what the competition is doing, get some insights about the target audience, and personalize offers. Online retailers are caught between two fires.

On the one side, data gathering is changing in e-commerce as more and more businesses want to protect their interests. And, on the other, extracting data via web scraping brings too many benefits to the table to be completely abandoned.

For more information on data gathering solutions and a better understanding of its importance for e-commerce, let’s take a closer look at this situation.

The necessity for data scraping in E-commerce

We mentioned that data gathering brings way too many benefits to e-commerce businesses to be cast aside. What are these benefits, and why is there a necessity for data scraping in e-commerce?

First of all, the competition in the e-commerce vertical is becoming harsher every year. If they want to remain competitive, businesses need to make informed decisions, and for this, they need data. The best data to do this is spread across their website as well as the sites of their competition.

Don’t forget that the market is volatile. Demand, supply, and prices are continually shifting. Businesses need to keep their tabs on the developments. This is another challenge that can be circumvented with the use of data scraping.

And finally, customer sentiment is an essential factor. Going through thousands of reviews one by one is borderline impossible. On the other hand, data scraping can provide insights into consumers’ sentiments considerably faster.

Anti-scraping techniques

Many businesses are trying to protect their online assets by implementing various anti-scraping techniques. Web scrapers can cause irreparable damage to e-commerce businesses. The bots can bomb the website with many requests at a time.

Due to too many requests, websites can slow down the customer experience with it. In some instances, the servers can go down as well, and the website can be offline.

Anti-scraping techniques keep scraper bots out of the website, making it hard for the competition to get hold of the data in a fast and cost-efficient way.

One of the most common anti-scraping practices found on websites is CAPTCHA. For a human user, getting through the CAPTCHA is easy. But for a bot agent, things get too complicated. Especially because CAPTCHA can appear in different forms and types. Scraper bots are not that smart to efficiently solve it in a given time frame before it changes.

Circumventing blocking

Blocking is another challenge businesses using scraper bots have to overcome. In fact, many websites have algorithms able to tell a human from bot users. In the event a bot is detected, the IP gets automatically banned/blocked. Retailers often take this measure because more than 75% of traffic comes from bots.

This usually happens when there are too many requests in a short time window. If a business is using a static IP address, this can be a problem because the IP will be blacklisted by a targeted website preventing future data scraping.

Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid blocking. You have to trick the server into thinking that your scraper bots are human users. “How do you make something that’s scripted appear like a human?” you may be wondering.

One way is to slow down your data gathering. Bots are easily recognizable because they crawl (browse) websites at ultra-fast speeds. Another common practice is to use rotating proxies. These proxies allow you to rotate the IP addresses bots make requests from, thus making it hard for the servers to detect bot activity.

And finally, you can prevent blocking by using different user-agents. User-agent is a part of every request sent to a server that tells it which browser you, in this case, bots are using. Set the crawler to switch the user-agent constantly, and you will bypass the blocking.

Large scale extraction complicates things

At last, we come to one more thing as if all of the above is not enough to change data gathering. Data gathering in e-commerce became more complicated because it is a large scale operation. There are dozens of product categories and a hundred products in each one of them.

Manually doing things is nearly impossible. Even if you manage to manually copy-paste all that data ranging from product descriptions and shipping to customer reviews and stock-keeping, it will take you a crazy amount of time to organize it. Not to mention that the data acquired in this fashion is flawed and inferior in quality. Visit Oxylabs to check out a web scraping tool that will make your job easier and save your time.

Conclusion

Data gathering is necessary for e-commerce. Large scale extraction is too complicated and calls scraper bots for help. At the same time, websites are deploying anti-scraping techniques and blocking IPs with high bot activity. All of it changed data gathering for e-commerce as it is no longer possible without making it slower, and using rotating proxies and anti-CAPTCHA solutions.

 

 

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