Back in 1995, the world’s leading online retail store was launched. Amazon started as an online book selling store, however, from the very beginning, it’s founders knew that they want to create a huge online empire. The company went from being a store selling books to a huge online retailer in just several years.
Today, when consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly 74% of them go straight to Amazon to do it. By the end of this year, Amazon is expected to account for more than 52% of the e-commerce market in the US. In 2018, the retailer accounted for 48% of the market. This information must sound threatening to other retailers in the country.
Shoppers increasingly feel more comfortable buying online from their laptops or smartphones. Although there are other big retailers in the US, such as Macy’s, Target, or Walmart, these companies are lagging behind the retail giant Amazon, when it comes to online retailing. These companies are currently trying to grow their business online but they can hardly compete with Amazon. Unfortunately, to its competitors, Amazon has become integrated into its consumers’ daily life. Today, a lot of shoppers start their search on the internet on Amazon, skipping search engines like Google or Yahoo. The loyal base of paying Prime members is priceless to Amazon, as they are the key to the retailer’s huge success. Last year, the number of customers having a prime membership surpassed more than 100 million people.
So Why Would You Need Amazon Scraping?
As a retailer, you can imagine how much valuable information and data Amazon carries: products, reviews, ratings, special deals, news, etc. Scraping Amazon is beneficial for both sellers and vendors. Amazon is like a magical place that carries all the information you need, collected in just one place. You need to have a solid understanding of how much information the web carries and how many websites you need to scrape to find all the data you need. Amazon data scraping can solve the issue of time-consuming e-commerce data extraction process. Keep reading this article to find out what information Amazon data scraping can provide and what you need to know about Amazon web scraping policy.
What Information Amazon Data Scraping Can Provide You?
Here’s a list of all the data you can get from Amazon:
- Competing product lists – the only way to be ahead of the competitors is to closely monitor their every move. If you want to win the competition, you need to know your competitors as good as you know your own brand. Since Amazon carries all the latest information regarding the product lists, you can regularly scrape your competitors’ products from their Amazon shop, and compare and monitor all the changes. Most surely, you will find all your competitors selling on Amazon. So scrape Amazon products to conduct competitor product analysis.
- Reviews of your products – how to know if your product satisfied customers’ needs and wants? The answer is simple: you need to ask them. Amazon is well known for its honest review section. One way to find out how your products perform is to study your products’ reviews. Using reviews information can help you better understand the positive and negative aspects of your products. You can learn the pain points of your customers that need to be addressed and you can find a lot of room for improvement. Moreover, you’ll also find out how to enhance your customer experience and service.
- Reviews of competing products – as we’ve already mentioned, you need to monitor competitors’ activity as closely as you monitor yourself. You will find a lot of insights once you look into your competitors’ review section on Amazon’s website. What people dislike most about their products? Once you learn that, you’ll find a great aspect upon which to build your competitive advantage. Also, if you find what people love the most about your competitors, you’ll also find in which area they are winning over you.
- Top rated products and ranks – Amazon has a feature that can sort out products per their rates. You can look at the top rated products in your chosen categories and check the winning products. This will give you the opportunity to identify current trends in the market and consider adding similar best selling products to your assortment. If you do scraping of bestselling and top rated products on a regular basis, you’ll also spot the products that are losing top sales positions. Knowing the trends of the market will help you with assortment optimization.
- Prices – Price scraping from Amazon has a bunch of advantages. Competitor pricing analysis will help spot price trends, it will help with competitor analysis, and most importantly, it will help you identify the best pricing strategy. A good pricing strategy will increase profits and put your company in a more competitive position. In general, in e-commerce data extraction, price scraping is a very important step that equips the company with strategic knowledge to beat the competition.
- Internationally selling products and prices – Amazon works outside of the US too and ships internationally. Thereby, you can identify opportunities for international sales by scraping products that ship overseas. Make a price comparison of these products in other markets and find the markets where prices are more expensive. Then, you can consider expanding into those markets based on the comparative price data analysis.
- Customer profiles and top reviewers lists – Scraping customers’ profiles would’ve created a huge opportunity for lead generation. However, Amazon web scraping policy is very strict and protective when it comes to their customers’ personal information. So scraping personal accounts could be a headache. Yet, one thing you can do is to try scraping the list of Amazon’s top reviewers. So you can invite these people to review your existing products, or you can ask them to do so once a new product is launched. Since the lists of the top reviewers are huge (up to 10,000 people), using web scraping to get the data will save lots of time.
Why Scraping Amazon Yourself Can Be a Headache?
Now that you know how much you can get from Amazon scraping, the next big question is how to scrape the data. There are several methods of web scraping, however, when it comes to scraping big quantities of data from complex websites like Amazon, the best solution is to use web scraping services. Amazon web scraping policy is strict and has many restrictions, which makes it extra hard to scrape amazon products and other information. There are some issues that you might face when scraping Amazon website yourself using an API or any other method, so we’ll list the most important ones:
- Firstly, the website algorithms can be too complex to scrape. What this means is that you might not be able to scrape the data right away because Amazon is not like other websites that you’re used to scraping. The website is built in a way to minimize crawling practices. The automotive crawlers will fail to web scrape properly.
- Following the previous point, it’s not hard to guess that many crawlers get simply blocked. The traditional API crawlers can be blocked by Amazon’s algorithms and once again, you will fail in your e-commerce data extraction efforts.
- Amazon carries an enormous amount of data, and if you decide to scrape their website, most probably it will require a lot of scraping. In general, if you want to do web scraping for your company’s needs, you need to understand that scraping big quantities of data can be hard when you do this by yourself. It is a time-consuming activity that needs to be done on a regular basis. So it will distract you from your main focus: your own company.
- In the web crawling world, CAPTCHA can be a real challenge for scrapers. CAPTCHA is a unique system that distinguishes a human from a machine. It is intended to block any spam or unwanted automated data extraction from websites. So the CAPTCHA system on Amazon’s website will create lots of problems and hinder your extraction efforts.
You can get whatever information you want from Amazon to use for your own good, however, the problem is how you choose to get that data. Getting your first piece of data may not be a hard task, but if you want to scrape big quantities of data on a regular basis, you will face a serious headache if you stick to working with scraping tools.
API Tools or Data Scraping Services: Which One to Choose for Amazon Scraping?
In the battle of data scraping services vs API tools, the obvious winner are the web scraping services. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but when considering Amazon data scraping, API tools are definitely losing. The issues listed above can happen only if you use API tools to scrape Amazon products. When using an API, you are limited in terms of what and how much you can scrape. Websites like Amazon track APIs and limit their ability to crawl the website. Also, APIs don’t take into consideration the legal side of scraping because they are automated machines. And lastly, APIs can’t deal with CAPTCHA restrictions. APIs may work well if you are crawling smaller websites, however, not in the case of Amazon data scraping.
In contrast, web scraping services can deal with most of the issues we’ve mentioned. If you hire a proper web scraping service, they will scrape for you and provide you with quality data on a regular basis. It’s easier to work with data scraping services if you need to update your data regularly. You make a deal with a company and they scrape for you per your requested time frames (e.g. monthly, weekly or even daily).
Web scraping services are well equipped with professionals who are well aware of all the legal restrictions and won’t have any issues with CAPTCHA as well. And last but not least, working with a professional web scraping service will save you a lot of time. If scraping is not your core business, then you don’t need to invest so much effort and time into something that should not be your main focus. It would be more effective and efficient for your company if you invest your resources into your business and leave Amazon data scraping to a data scraping service.