You need data to decide to be at the top of your game when running an e-commerce business. With good data, you can quickly know where your company stands. You can also figure out the things needed to help you compete favorably. Unfortunately, collecting the necessary data to enjoy these benefits isn’t an easy feat. Hence, the need for web scraping.
Web scraping is the process of leveraging tools or scripts to collect data from numerous websites. The data collected is then stored and processed at will and ultimately used to derive insights for business decisions.
To do effective web scraping, you either build your custom web scraper or employ the service of automated tools like Amazon Scraper API. In this article, we will explore all the possible e-commerce data collection solutions you can explore.
What is an API, and how does it work?
API is shorthand for Application Programming Interface. In layperson’s terms, this refers to a system layer that is the intermediary between two software applications. Thanks to an API, two different systems can interact with each other. For this to be possible, the developer must follow some sets of rules and protocols.
Since we are talking about the e-commerce landscape, API can refer to a system that facilitates the collection of product information, customer reviews, and pricing data, amongst other details you may need as an e-commerce business. The data collected through APIs can be structured, stored, and analyzed to get desired insights about the market.
This interoperability between applications is a factor business owners should consider when choosing a web scraping solution.
Differences between Custom Scraper and Scraper API
As a business, there are two primary ways to collect data from the web through scraping. You either develop an in-house web scraper or use a third-party product like Amazon Scraper API.
Custom web scraper involves hiring a developer (if your business doesn’t have one already) who will develop a web scraping script. The developer can use Python, Node JS, Ruby, C++, or any other programming language for the development. The script sends HTTP requests to destination sites, collects HTML content, parses it, and gets the relevant data for you.
If your business isn’t a full-blown tech company, making the most of a custom web scraper may be challenging. The reason for this is mainly scalability. Custom web scrapers can do well with small-scale data gathering. But when it’s time to scale or maintain the software, you may be unable to keep up. Also, your custom script may soon be outdated because the website you’re scraping always updates its structure and underlying security technology.
This then places importance on scraper APIs. Scraper APIs are dedicated software solutions for web scraping. So, they are a company’s entire business, and all their resources are committed to keeping their software updated and efficient. As a business, you just need to connect their API to your system, and you can get all the data you need. Scraper APIs like Amazon web scraper handle all the maintenance, session management, software updates, and security bypass, amongst other things.
Use Cases for Scraper APIs in E-commerce
Here are some use cases for Scraper APIs in e-commerce:
- Price monitoring: Monitoring price changes on your competitor’s platform will be easier with scraper APIs, as they can be automated to do checks at regular intervals. Hence, you can adjust your product prices accordingly with the data provided.
- Inventory management: You can use scraper APIs to keep track of inventory across different sites. This can foster better inventory management processes.
- Product review and sentiment analysis: Businesses need to know the state of mind of their users, especially in the global market. Scraper APIs can help access product reviews across the industry quickly.
- Market research and trend analysis: Scraper APIs are the best bet when looking to enter a new market or know what’s trending in a particular market.
Why you should develop in-house web scrapers
Developing custom web scrapers may be resource-intensive. However, there are some advantages to it.
- Customization: It’s easier to customize your web scraper to your needs.
- Cost-effectiveness: If your web scraping needs are small and infrequent, having a custom web scraper is more cost-effective.
- Data privacy: Since you control your web scraper and its database, you don’t risk classified business data to unsolicited third parties.
Why you should go for Scraper API
With scraper APIs like the Amazon scraper API, you enjoy the following benefits:
- The implementation is simplified: The web is a complex world to navigate. With scraper APIs, most of those complexities are abstracted away from you.
- Scalability: Scraper APIs are the best option when dealing with data collection at scale. As they are designed to make multiple HTTP requests at scale.
- Maintenance and updates: Websites are frequently updated. So, if your scraping technology doesn’t keep up with the update, you won’t get the needed data. Scraper APIs are dedicated businesses, so there are enough resources to keep them current.
- Security bypass: Many websites have security measures that may inhibit scraping. An example of such a measure is CAPTCHA. Scraper APIs can easily handle these security measures.
Data collection is the pillar of e-commerce growth. You can’t grow your business efficiently if you don’t know what customers want and how they want it. Web scraping helps you keep tabs on the market, and Amazon scraper API and other scraper APIs are the best solutions for obtaining data at scale.