The internet is a rich source of beneficial information that can help any business scale to higher heights. Manually collecting this information can lead to errors, is time-consuming, and it makes it challenging to keep up with new data as it emerges. And this means you could miss out on a lot of vital details.
This is why we have scraping tools.
Commonly known as a web scraper, a scraping tool automates the way in which businesses retrieve large amounts of web data for various purposes. It then saves the data in a database, a local file in the computer, or a spreadsheet for further analysis.
By using the insights obtained from analyzing the data, a business is able to make major decisions that keep it profitable and competitive. Some industries rely entirely on web scraping for their operations, such as travel fare aggregators.
Scraping tools operate with the use of proxy servers. A proxy acts as a gateway between the device scraping data and the web server.
When the device with the scraper makes a web request, it goes to the proxy server first. The proxy then masks the device’s real IP address and instead displays the proxy’s IP address, which could be attached to a different physical location. And the search results follow the same route back to the scraper.
Why Is a Proxy Necessary When Scraping Data?
Some websites try to keep people from extracting data from their sites. Scraping tools make use of proxy servers with rotating IPs to give the impression of organic traffic. It reduces the chances of getting blocked or banned.
Proxy servers also make it possible to access geo-blocked sites and collect data from local websites.
Let’s look at more specific reasons why your business needs web scraping tools.
1) Market Research
Every business thrives on understanding their target market. You can only supply marketable products if you know what the consumer needs. And these needs change with changing trends. You need an effective and automatic scraping tool to keep up with these changes.
A web scraper collects real-time data, ensuring that you are always up to date. By applying the data collected in your product creation and marketing strategies, you can remain relevant in your industry.
2) Generating Leads
Marketing does not just involve creating ads and having sales. Aggressive marketing consists of reaching out to potential customers directly through email, text, or calls. Manually finding the right leads and their contact details is time-consuming.
With a scraping tool, you can automatically collect contact information of possible leads from online resources such as yellow pages directories. It will then import this data to your computer for easy access.
3) Finding Potential Employees from Web Data
One way your business will succeed is by working with the best human capital and retaining it. And calling in for job applications may not yield the best results. You need top-class employees to build a top-class business.
By scraping websites and applying the right filters, you can retrieve data on various experts in the positions you need to fill. Use avenues such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to get the best candidates.
4) Price Scraping
Some price-sensitive customers will go as far as using scraping tools to find the most affordable prices. If you can apply the same technique to set the lowest prices, you can attract a larger market.
Price scraping refers to the process of using scraping tools to monitor the product prices of your competitors on their websites and e-commerce sites. Using this data, you can set competitive prices that are lower than your competitors, but high enough to earn profits.
5) Collecting Customer Feedback
Some customers will not come to your social media pages or website to leave reviews about your product or service. They will use review websites such as Yelp and Better Business Bureau. If you are not keen, you could miss valuable customer feedback about your business and lose your reputation.
It’s hard to keep track of the reviews on these websites manually. By using a scraping tool, you can extract real-time views of the public concerning your business, address complaints on time, and maintain a loyal and satisfied customer base.
6) Keeping an Eye on the Competition
“Know your enemies and know yourself.” Every business should play by this rule. Being aware of what the public is saying about your product is not enough; you need to know what the market is saying about your competitors. It helps you identify your competitive advantages and disadvantages, and with this information, you can make more strategic decisions.
Gathering data on your competitors will also ensure that you are always aware of your competitors’ moves so that you are not blind-sided. This information can also provide insight into how your competitors may respond to your new products or prices.
There is a lot of useful information you can derive from web data that will:
- Give you a competitive edge
- Attract new customers
- Keep customers satisfied
- Increase your profits
Using a capable scraping tool will target the right resources and collect relevant information without much hassle.