How to Find Products to Sell Online Using Web Scraping

5 min read

Knowing what to sell is one of the greatest challenges of an online seller. Trying to figure out what products to sell can be more difficult than you think, but with web scraping, it ceases to become a concern. Web scraping is a cutting-edge technology that has come to stay. And with the rise of big data, more and more businesses are beginning to see the importance of having important data about their customers and most importantly, their competitors.

Web Scraping: the best tech to find products to sell online

With a web scraping tool, you no longer have to rely on random data or statistics you see online. Most times, there are slight errors or deviations in this kind of data. Therefore, it would be risky for you to rely on this when deciding on what to sell.

To avoid any second-guessing, a web scraping tool is better because you will be getting the correct data first hand. What’s more, a web scraping tool gives you the luxury of going to any eCommerce platform like Amazon to scrape data.

Before you start selling anything online, you need to know:

  1. the price given to different products by other sellers
  2. the rating of different products
  3. Customer reviews: praise and complaints

All of this information is vital and you can get it easily by using a web scraper. This is how you build yourself a database. 

  • With past data in your hands, you can predict future trends in the market that can affect sales.
  • Present market data also gives you a wider view of what is working in the market and what isn’t.

Important Ecommerce Data You Need to Scrape

So, you now know the importance of web scraping, however, you are left wondering about the data you need to scrape exactly. Don’t worry, in this section, we will discuss 5 important eCommerce data you need to check before making a decision on what to sell online.

1. Price

Price is a very important factor when selecting a product to sell online. As much as you want to price your products well enough to make profits, it is also vital that you don’t price it too high. Before you pick a product you want to sell, pricing analysis is a must-do.

If you price your product too high, many customers would completely ignore your product. On the other hand, if you price it too low, then customers might feel that your product is bad or invaluable. So, you have to get the perfect price.

How do I know which price is perfect? When you have a pricing database of the products in the market, with the according sales data, you will be able to calculate how sensitive customers are to prices and at which point the profit will be maximized. 

2. Customer Reviews

As a seller, you need to know what customers want. And you can’t know this if you don’t listen to them. The most effective way to know what people are saying about different products is to scrape product reviews. This way, you get to learn about the pros and cons of different products, and you would be well-informed on the products people are willing to buy.

3. Market Volume

Before you jump into selling a product, you should see the market volume. In other words, you want to be sure that people want whatever you want to sell. You should scrape the data to see the number of people purchasing the product daily or weekly. This can save you from selling the wrong product no one would buy from you. You should only look to sell products people want and are willing to pay for.

4. Past Market Data

Web scraping eCommerce sites to monitor competitor products over a long period of time can help provide insights into product and market trends. With past market data in your hands, you can see how customers reacted when prices increased. You can also see products that thrive or suffer during periods of high demand. Overall, past market data can help you get a deeper look at the market and see how the trends will go.

Scraping eCommerce data regularly, storing data across time, and building this database for longitudinal analysis is a smart way to learn from the market. 

5. Customers Rating

Data about a product’s rating simply tells you about how people perceive the product offered by a brand. If only one store has a high average rating and super-high sales, it means that the product is sold by a monopoly. Competing with this type of tycoon is not a good choice for a new starter.

On the contrary, if all the products have a very low average rating, then it wouldn’t be good for you to sell such a product, because customers don’t consider the product valuable. While this is a good opportunity to dig into it and find room to differentiate your product.

Obstacles to Data Scraping

With all the great benefits that come with web scraping. Some things potentially serve as obstacles. There are so many obstacles, but we will be discussing five of the major ones in this article.

The difference in website structure and layout

Not all websites are the same. Every website has a unique structure or layout. Therefore, one scraper cannot scrape data from two different websites. In other words, a special scraper has to be built for every website. In fact, when some changes are made on a website, the scraper would have to be modified too. Hence, it becomes a problem for a web scraper to keep modifying itself. Some web scrapers deal with this problem by mimicking human behavior when interacting with different websites.

Website Anti-scraping tools

Anti-scraping tools are tools on websites put there to prevent web scraping. For example, a web scraper’s IP can be blocked when a website notices a high number of requests from the same IP address. CAPTCHA is another “troublesome” anti-scraping tool. Websites use it to distinguish humans and bots by displaying logical problems only humans can solve. This could be difficult for web scrapers because they are driven by bots. However, web scrapers have been able to create bots implemented with CAPTCHA solvers to prevent any unnecessary blocking.

Large data could take a long to scrape

Trying to extract and scrape hundreds of data from an eCommerce website with so much data isn’t going to be done in a few seconds. It could take a lot of time and if eventually the work is done, the accuracy of the data could have been affected. So, large data at times could be an issue. Most web scrapers combat this with cloud extraction. With cloud extraction, you can extract data from the cloud from multiple servers using different IPs. That way, you can extract large-scale data at high speed accurately.

Untidy data

At times, after an immense amount of data is scraped, it could be very to organize the data into a neat form where it becomes useful for you. However, with re-format options, web scrapers can clean extracted data into the best format you want.

Changes in data

Data scraped yesterday can become obsolete today when new information arises. This is especially true for the news industry. Getting real-time data regularly can be challenging – the data volume will be large and more effort will have to be made to look over the updates. Nonetheless, there is a solution to this. Scheduled scraping will automate all this hard work.

Can Octoparse solve Data Scraping problems?

Octoparse is one of the many data extraction software and like any other web scraping tool, Octoparse faces the obstacles mentioned above when scraping data. However, a lot has been invested in combating these problems.  All these problems are solved with great success with Octoparse. As websites develop tactics to resist data scraping, web scrapers too could evolve in the way they scrap data.

Read more: Web Scraping Challenges and Workarounds

Final Thoughts

The road to deciding on the best product to sell online isn’t as long as you thought. With the right web scraping tool, you can have all the important metrics analyzed. With all the necessary data at your fingertips, you should spend less time thinking and more time taking action that would influence your business positively. Hopefully, with the information in this article, you can easily find the best products to sell online today. 

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