The retail industry, starting from trading posts and general stores back in the day to becoming an extremely complex and diverse field in itself, has come a long way. From selling all kinds of physical goods ranging from automobile parts, pharmaceuticals, clothing, health care products, books, and food, along with the services that are required to maintain these products, retailing is everywhere. So much so that it is safe to say that it plays a leading role in a country’s economy.
Living up to its reputation as the largest and most diversified industry in the world, constituting supermarkets, specialty stores, department stores, chain stores, franchise stores, variety stores, online merchants, mail-order houses, and door-to-door dealers. They buy their goods from wholesalers, stock them, and resell them to individual consumers in small quantities. This process is followed by retailers that rank amongst the world’s biggest corporations and a massive number of small operations responsible for sustaining families.
In an industry where brands face the challenges of e-commerce giants, dynamic pricing, and the growing thrift shopping trend, how do retailers maintain these customers’ better informed today?
The answer is simple – Web Scraping.
Web Scraping gives the ability to extract data from any website and transform it into useful informational patterns and statistics that offer businesses the competitive advantage of key industry trends that the company needs to follow. These services hold significance in monitoring the physical market stores as well as the eCommerce variants. Along with that, it helps in collecting retail data from different websites and use the collected data to perform market research and data analysis. Using these techniques, businesses are getting wisdom from their competitors’ strategies, which help them predict future trends.
This kind of business intelligence has become so prevalent and accessible that more retail brands than ever rely on data-driven insights to optimise pricing, streamline operations, improve customer experience, and ultimately save money. This sophisticated technology has allowed companies to capture a wealth of data about their customers using residential proxies for information ranging from their age, geographical location, gender, favourite restaurants, to what books or news they read. Retailers have now turned to cloud-based big data solutions to aggregate and manage that data.
So how can retailers use this tool to improve customer experience?
Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general, once said: “If you know the enemies and yourself, you will never be defeated.” This applies to business as well. Web Scraping allows you that window where you can obtain the latest changes that your competitors make by scraping the product information from their website. This will help make a timely response to new product launches and even help develop a new market strategy. Apart from predicting the upcoming fashion trends, scraping product ads also gives insight into the competitor’s budget and enables you to plan accordingly.
Web scraping is a saving grace for people who face difficulties in setting up a competitive price. The key is to maximise profit while staying competitive and without losing the customer, this can be achieved by scraping customer information to fine-tune the market strategies to increase customer satisfaction. Since this data also enables you to keep a thorough check on the not-so-static marketplace, it helps you create a dynamic pricing strategy to keep up with the changes and help maximise the profit.
Product portfolio optimisation
It is very common for people to look online for reviews of a certain product before buying it. Customer reviews have the power to impact customers’ buying decisions. So, to increase the popularity of a product, one can use web scraping to collect and analyse customers’ feedback to cross-examine and make necessary improvements. The sentiment analysis technique is widely used to analyse customers’ attitudes. Whether it is positive, neutral, or negative across various websites, analysing consumers saves tons of time and effort by automating the same extraction process. By placing the products with the best consumer insights first, retailers can reduce their return & refund rates, improve customer loyalty and strengthen their relationship with the manufacturers.
As a retailer, you are required to know more than just the numbers. You need to know what the viewers think and feel about your campaigns. A retailer should fall back to customer comments made on the campaign content and run that data for analysing customer sentiments like what is their opinion, moods, and feelings about it. This empowers retail organizations with information that they can use to update their campaigns, products, brand image, and more.
Make Real-time Changes
The eCommerce industry is known for its dynamism, and hence the real-time information about the effectiveness of a store or the products can prove invaluable at times. So, the person needs to be updated every time things change to implement real-time changes. Web scraping can get your retail store this kind of intelligence on a real-time basis. It helps a retailer to spend more time making improvements instead of gathering loads of data.
Making Wise Investments
Investment decisions are complex, as it usually involves a series of processes before a sound decision can be made from setting up a hypothetical thesis, experimenting, and researching. The most effective way to test an investment thesis is through historical data analysis. As a means, web scraping extracts historical data more effectively. It allows you to gain insights into the root cause of past failures or successes, pitfalls you should have avoided, and future investment return you might gain.
The above pointers are just a fraction of what web scraping can achieve off its potential. With web scraping experts’ help, a brand has increased chances to collect the data it needs to make better business, sales, inventory, and marketing decisions. It is the best solution for businesses to obtain a large amount of the necessary information routinely. Analysing web data helps you reap insights into how to increase traffic and sales, manifest ideal conversation rates, and, eventually, save your business and give it a new and refined look.