If you want to increase your sales, get your brand noticed, and attract more customers on Amazon, you need clear insights into other sellers’ actions. What are their prices? Who are their customers? What are the users saying about their products? The more you know, the easier it will be to develop effective strategies for success.
The only problem is that scraping Amazon is more challenging than you might think.
The platform uses advanced anti-bot technologies that can easily prevent primitive web scrapers from collecting necessary information. Therefore, if you want to scrape it for data, you’ll need to perfect your approach.
Learn how to navigate the obstacles of Amazon and start scraping it like a pro.
Why you need to start scraping Amazon
Amazon has around 1.5 million active sellers on the platform (and approximately 6.2 million in total). On top of that, it has around 300 million active buyers. It’s a highly competitive marketplace that can make or break your business.
If you want to come out on top and secure the future of your business, you’ll need to collect as much relevant data as you can from it. The information available on the platform can offer fantastic insights that can help improve your marketing, brand awareness, and lead-generation strategies.
The most common reasons for scraping data available on Amazon include:
- Market research;
- Price monitoring;
- Review monitoring;
- Competitor research.
Market research helps you understand your target audience better. It sheds light on who they are, what they want, and how they find the products they need.
Moreover, it helps you identify potential gaps in the market, allowing you to introduce new products that can take your audience’s breath away.
Price monitoring is the next part of the equation. Different sellers on the Amazon marketplace will often have vastly different pricing on products that are often similar (if not exactly the same). However, you’ll notice that it’s rarely the cheapest or the most expensive product that gets the highest sales.
You’ll need to get your pricing just right if you want to boost your sales. Having the cheapest products will make your target audience believe that they’re of inferior quality.
The most expensive products could be out of your target audience’s budget, so thorough price monitoring will be the key to developing an effective pricing strategy.
Another reason why you’ll want to scrape Amazon data is review monitoring. Review monitoring can help with your competitor analysis, brand reputation, and new product development.
Your competitors’ reviews can shine a light on their effective and less effective strategies. Your own reviews can tell you more about your strengths and weaknesses.
Together, they can tell you what aspects of your business you need to improve and how to enhance your products to appeal to your audience.
Finally, scraping data on Amazon can help improve your competitor research and allow you to stay on top of market trends. You can use the information gathered to find ways to outperform your competitors, predict demand, identify market gaps, and more.
All in all, scraping Amazon empowers you with the information you need to expand your business.
What makes Amazon so difficult for web scraping?
Web scraping is generally a simple, straightforward process. All you need to do is program your bots, specify the type of data you want them to collect, choose your preferred format for data extraction, and feed them the URLs of the pages they want to go through.
However, Amazon makes this simple process immeasurably more difficult.
The platform has advanced anti-bot technologies that can prevent you from collecting the data you need. Three of its most challenging obstacles come in the forms of:
- IP bans;
- Browser fingerprinting;
- Rate limiting.
Amazon is pretty good at discerning real users from bots since the former have significantly more different “browsing” habits than the latter.
Bots can make quick information requests and scan through dozens of pages almost simultaneously – real users cannot physically do that. So, Amazon identifies the IP addresses that have an obvious pattern for making requests and uses IP bans and rate limiting to prevent bots from continuing to access the site.
It also uses browser fingerprinting to assess your device’s software and hardware information, making it easy to identify you (aka your bots) as a unique user even if you change your IP address.
How to overcome Amazon’s anti-bot detection systems
You’ll need to better program your web scrapers to overcome Amazon’s anti-bot detection systems and scrape the platform without obstacles.
Primarily, you’ll need to control your bulk scraping efforts. Sending many requests in a short time frame won’t only trigger Amazon’s rate-limiting tech. It could also overload the site’s servers, introducing problems for other users.
Therefore, you’ll need to introduce a delay between your requests. While restricting the number of requests your bots can make within a specified time frame could slow down your data collection, it’s critical if you want to avoid rate limiting.
Additionally, you’ll want to make your bots appear more human-like. Program random wait times between requests or rotate your user-agent strings.
You’ll also want to hide your IP addresses to avoid IP bans and blocks. You can best do that with the help of a proxy server.
The best proxies will have a large pool of IP addresses you can use when web scraping, allowing you to rotate between different addresses with every new request.
Although scraping Amazon certainly comes with its fair share of challenges, it’s still possible to do it right without much fuss. With the help of a reliable proxy service and a few tricks, such as limiting your bulk scraping and programming random wait times, you can go around Amazon’s anti-bot tech and collect the data you need to push your business forward.