By: Tomas Montvilas, Chief Commercial Officer at Oxylabs.io
The digital transformation of the economy has resulted in business model shifts across entire industries. Data is fueling businesses in a myriad of ways that go beyond profitability to produce improvements in how we live, communicate and conduct business.
Multi-billion dollar companies like search engines and online marketplaces base their business on collecting data. Entire sectors offering “data as a service” have emerged to package and sell it to every industry on the digital landscape. Marketers ahead of the curve understood long ago that data is the weapon of choice for optimizing marketing strategies.
There’s no doubt about it: data is critically important and it’s here to stay.
Real-time data is the new gold standard
Real-time data is information delivered immediately after extraction, processed using real-time computing with near to zero latency. It gives businesses access to critical information upon request when it’s needed and can be stored offline to be used for analysis at a later date.
Real-time data is a game-changer. It gives a competitive advantage to many businesses, allowing them to gain essential insights to pivot their strategy. And while many companies are currently using and benefitting from real-time data, the e-commerce space is one of the sectors that has transformed the most overall.
Real-time data is critical to e-commerce strategies
Real-time data is found in multiple e-commerce sectors such as travel, consumer goods and marketing. This is accomplished through the use of dynamic pricing strategies that leverage supply and demand factors to provide competitive prices, evidenced by the rapidly fluctuating prices that consumers see when they search for flights, hotels, and consumer goods.
Marketers can also use real-time data obtained through data service providers that provides granular insights for use in advanced marketing strategies that can include:
Social media mentions
Brand tracking on news services, websites, blogs and forums
Consumer spending data
Businesses that leverage the use of data analytics are more successful overall. Analysis conducted by Forrester Research Inc. confirms that companies that directly mine data grow at more than 30% annually. Accordingly, McKinsey Analytics confirms that organizations engaged in consumer data analysis outperform their competition by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.
Real-Time Data E-Commerce Use Cases
Real-time data empowers e-commerce retailers and professional marketers to analyze the market while gaining insight into key consumer metrics. It allows them to conduct predictive analysis into emerging products and consumer trends to craft precision strategies that increase market share.
Real-time data provides market intelligence. The use of real-time data reveals opportunities to list and optimize products on third-party marketplaces. Advanced data extraction and analytics ensures that merchants know where consumers are shopping for products and gives insights into strategies used by the competition.
Real-time data provides pricing intelligence. Real-time product datasets can provide information about specific products that show price fluctuations among their competitors. This helps merchants craft superior pricing strategies that pivot according to supply and demand factors that increase sales.
Real-time data provides consumer intelligence. The use of real-time data tracking allows brands to monitor mentions across various sources that include consumer review websites, social media networks, external websites, news aggregators and forums. This helps marketers protect the status of a brand, allowing them to mitigate the effects of negative press on its overall reputation.
How to Get Real-Time E-Commerce Data
Where you get your data largely depends on the data’s end purpose. Sources of obtaining data are numerous and continue to grow.
Data provision agencies are a primary source of data extracted from devices associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), consumer websites and government sources. Non-traditional sources such as social media networks are another key source that can provide critical data that gauges consumer sentiment.
Whether it’s data sets or real-time data fed through an API, agencies providing data services have emerged in almost every sector to service businesses of all types and sizes.
In-House Web Scraping
Web scraping extracts data through the use of scripts that crawl and extract information from public websites. An in-house web scraping department can help businesses identify targets and customize scripts to extract the precise information required for product and pricing strategies.
Integral to the web scraping process is the use of proxies. Proxies are intermediaries that work through a third-party server that allows users to route their requests while remaining anonymous.
Web scraping requires multiple requests for data, and servers may confuse those requests with a malicious attack, resulting in an IP ban of the requesting server. Ethically sourced proxies help mitigate this issue by leveraging multiple IPs that work in tandem to distribute requests and avoid server issues.
Ready-to-Use Web Scraping Solutions
Web scraping can be a complicated and technologically involved process. Businesses can choose to do away with the complexities by outsourcing the public data extraction process through ready-to-use solutions.
These tools can be customized according to the business’s needs to obtain quality public data while focusing resources on data analysis. This allows smaller companies to leverage world-class infrastructure on a budget and gives them the critical data required to compete in the ever-expanding marketplace.
Real-time data is one of the latest technological innovations, enabling businesses to obtain market, pricing and consumer intelligence. Whether you choose to buy it from a provider, extract it in-house or leverage ready-to-use solutions, real-time data can help augment your e-commerce business on every level so you can compete and thrive in today’s competitive e-commerce environment.