Every serious-minded business leverages data because it holds power to elevate a business and put it at the top of the market.
Data exists in every corner of the internet and, when collected and analyzed properly, can help brands make clear-cut and profitable decisions.
Hence, there is high competition in the data extraction space as every brand tries to take what they need. There is, then, the need to be smarter when trying to gather data.
Trying to collect this data manually can cost you money, time, and energy, and this is where web scraping comes in.
Web scraping helps you get a huge amount of user data readily and quickly without the stress and extra cost of manual scraping.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping is also sometimes called data extraction and is known as the process used in collecting data in large quantities from different places at once.
The platform chosen would depend on the brand and what type of data they are looking for. For instance, an online store would scrape prices majorly from major eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay. While a business trying to protect its reputation would focus on scraping customers’ reviews and comments on search engines and other platforms.
Altogether, the process must be automated to make life easier and the exercise more bearable. In most cases, a brand would need to visit millions of web pages and extract billions of data per day, and this can easily become burdensome if the process is not automated.
Python is one simple yet powerful language that can be used to develop tools that automate web scraping. One of such tools is lxml solutions that can work quickly to extract data from multiple sources repeatedly.
The good news is learning to use the lxml library is simple, and you may take a shot at the tool even after a brief lxml tutorial. The lxml tutorial demonstrates how to employ Python for web scraping.
What Are The Benefits of Web Scraping In Business?
There are several ways web scraping can benefit your business, and below are some of the most common benefits:
- Web scraping is less expensive than manual data collection and entry and saves both time and cost
- It produces data with higher quality, better accuracy, and fewer errors due to human handling
- Web scraping tools can easily handle scraping, parsing, analysis, and visualization all in one place and instantly too
- Data is extracted in real-time and often more current and timely
- Hence, data extraction can help you stay on top of trends and ahead of the market and your competitors
Most Common Use Cases for Web Scraping
Web scraping is not just some theoretical idea but a solid concept with practical use cases in business. Some of the use cases include:
1. For Market Evaluation and Analysis
Market factors such as demand, supply, prices, and customer behavior remain important in running a successful business.
Understanding each of these factors at every point is how brands dominate the market.
However, these factors will remain largely unknown unless data is scraped and evaluated in large amounts and web scraping is used for this exact purpose.
2. For Competition Monitoring
Every digital brand needs to know what its competitors are doing at every point. This could be done by monitoring what content they promote, how they communicate with their customers, and what prices they sell their products and services.
This knowledge can then be used to make necessary improvements.
For instance, you may monitor your competitors’ prices, so you can determine whether your prices are set just right or need some adjusting.
3. For List Building
List building, also known as lead generation, is scraping valid information such as name, addresses, email, phone, etc.
The process is targeted to collect details about those who can easily turn into paying customers for your business.
The details are scraped off manufacturers’ or e-commerce websites and followed up until the leads become customers.
Scraping this type of information isn’t only possible with web scraping but is easier as well.
4. Brand Monitoring and Protection
To be certain of what your customers think about your brand can be the very thing that determines how much revenue you rake in at the end of the day.
This is because customers’ reviews and feedback can either pull in more customers or deter them from doing business with you.
For instance, when most of your customers leave positive reviews, prospective buyers use that to judge the integrity of your brand and move to patronize you.
On the flip side, too many bad reviews would certainly leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Data holds several blessings for today’s business, and participating in the said blessings requires some dedication and effort. Web scraping takes the struggle away and offers you high-quality and relevant data that can shape the future of your brand.