Ecommerce has increased competition by enabling customers to choose from a variety of products and prices conveniently. This makes profitability difficult for sellers, especially for those:
- without strong brand recognition
- that rely on ecommerce marketplaces like Ebay where users see many competing products on the same screen
How can you can sell profitably on eBay? One solution is web scraping.
What is web scraping?
Internet is possibly the world’s largest database. Web scraping, web crawling or web data extraction is the process for collecting data from websites. This can be done manually, or the process can be automated using a bot or a web scraper.
Since, scraping manually can be tedious & expensive, it is better to make use of bots or web crawlers. However, many pages, such as eBay, can often detect web crawlers with their IP addresses and block them. For this, it is better to use rotating proxies or make use of data collection services.
How is web scraping useful for eBay sellers?
It is hard to have predictable profits on eBay because
- Ebay’s business model differs from a standard retail platform by its auction feature. Sellers can resell products by listing them at low prices, which customers bid on, leading to continuously changing prices
- Ebay is one of the oldest and most popular ecommerce marketplaces, sellers face intense competition.
Sellers can scrape different data from eBay to improve their offers:
1. Price data
Prices fluctuate frequently in e-commerce. Amazon is known to change its products’ prices every ten minutes. In such an environment, it is essential to keep tabs on prices:
- In order to price intelligently, you need price data from all your competitors on eBay to offer the best prices.
- Scraping prices will help you in understanding the range of prices offered for Bright similar products.
- It will also help in predicting pricing and auctioning trends and patterns.
2. Product data
There are often a large number of products being sold on eBay. Having data on the types of products can help:
- If there are a lot of similar products available, it can help to price it low to attract bidders and customers.
- If your product is unique, such as an antique collection, it can be priced on the higher end owing to fewer competitors and its unique value.
- You can also check which products are missing or being sold in lower quantities and take advantage by tapping into that market.
Reviews and ratings give a sneak peek into what the product is like when used. Scraping data on reviews can help you in many ways:
- Data on reviews can help you make improvements in your product.
- Checking your competitors’ reviews can also show you their weak points, which you can include in your product to make it stand out. For more, feel free to check our article on competitor analysis.
- Reviews can also make you alert of who the best performers are in the market so you can keep a close check on their prices.
4. Customer data
There is a lot which can be achieved from a customer’s buying habits and patterns:
- Checking for your customers’ shopping patterns can help you make better predictive analysis about their purchases.
- It can also help in predictions about market trends.
- Their buying patterns can also help you to create better marketing strategies on eBay.
- Checking your customers’ locations can help you judge where your product is thriving and where it is failing.
There is also other information on eBay which can also be used to make your business successful:
- Getting data on shipping costs and services can help you set prices for shipping in a competitive way.
- You can also scrape sellers’ manufacturing details to get an insight into the ingredients/processes involved in producing the product. This with the reviews can help you come up with a better-quality product.
- Keeping a check on seasonal sales and discounts can help you prepare to stock up your inventory for a surge in demand.
Is it legal?
We are not lawyers and this is not legal advice. However, many countries allow scraping publicly available data if it does not violate any data privacy laws. However, eBay mentions on its user agreement page that users will not “use any robot, spider, scraper, data mining tools, data gathering and extraction tools, or other automated means to access our Services for any purpose, except with the prior express permission of eBay..”. Therefore, you may need to seek local legal advice before crawling eBay.
For more detailed information on legality for scraping data, please refer to our article here.
- Top 5 Web Scraping Analytics Use Cases with Examples
- 3 Ways to Gain Competitive Edge with Amazon Data
If you want to know more about our services, feel free to contact us.
This article was drafted by former AIMultiple industry analyst Rijja Younus.
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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