The e-commerce industry has been growing at an unprecedented rate year-over-year. Increasing internet penetration has been hailed as the primary cause for this growth. Also, with recent increase in the number of active social media and mobile users, the e-commerce industry could soon exceed the size of the traditional brick and mortar retail models. A recent survey shows that about 1.4 billion people are engaged in shopping online with an average spend of $1,500.
Compared to the traditional retail format, online shopping gives sellers access to a plethora of data and information. Marketers could break the shackle of relying only on market research and intuition for decision making. Online platforms record all the data right from clicks, views, and activities to feedback, comments, and sentiments. Availability of such massive amounts of data often results in a possible scenario of information overload. Various analytics tools have surfaced in recent years to crunch a large amount of data and provide valuable and actionable insights.
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Web crawling solutions and text mining tools are two such solutions that are relevant to the e-commerce industry. Historically, marketers have always had access to quantitative data, and analysis of such data was simple. However, due to the high level of competition in the market space, marketers have been compelled to go beyond numbers and understand consumer behavior. Everything ranging from the online experience, product experience, and multi-and channel interaction to promotional experience are being analyzed to enhance customer satisfaction. By gaining an in-depth knowledge of such intelligence, marketers can optimize price points, fine-tune product portfolios, and customize it down to the individual level to enhance profitability.
The Emergence of Web Crawling Solutions and Text Mining Tools to Tap Business Opportunities
Text mining tools can assist an organization in generating valuable insights from text-based contents such as documents, e-mail, social media comments, and product reviews. With the use of web crawling solutions all text-based data can be retrieved to a server for further analysis. Analyzing such data can be challenging as natural language text is often inconsistent. It contains ambiguities such as inconsistent semantics and syntax, including industry jargons, sarcasm, slangs, double entendre, and misspellings. With the assistance of statistical pattern learning, an organization can structure and clean the data to gain content-specific values such as emotion, relevance, intensity, and sentiment.
Setting-up a Best-in-Class Web Crawling Solutions and Text Mining Practices
Each text mining or web crawling solutions differ as per the business requirement. The analytics tool works on the principle of garbage-in garbage-out, so it is necessary to identify what kind of information the e-commerce business is seeking.
Here’s a glance at what it takes to set-up a best-in-class web-crawling and text mining practice
Challenges and How to Overcome Them?
Non-uniform data formats and structure, the presence of interactive web components, real-time latency, and anti-scraping tools make the implementation of web crawling solutions a daunting task. It may prove to be a gigantic task to setup in-house web crawling solutions as it requires large infrastructure configuration, dedicated team of experts, constant monitoring, and tools with enhanced features. In scenarios where companies feel they might not have adequate infrastructure, they can look to outsource the process to experts who specialize in offering web crawling solutions.
Best Practices in Web Crawling and Text Mining
- Developing a secure and scalable crawling architecture that can manage to crawl information from more than 10,000+ websites globally
- Use of could-based solutions for offline analysis
- Access the right data from the right site, at the right frequency
- Use data normalization and transformation to obtain structured data
- Automated testing and quality check mechanism
- Real-time automated e-mail alerts for errors and updates
- Use mix of analytics tools to turn data into insights
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Emerging Trend: Preference of Customized Service Providers Over Stand-Alone Product Providers
As noted earlier, the level of intricacies in the analysis of text-based metrics goes beyond human imagination. A stand-alone product provider would be an inexpensive option providing expertise across a particular domain. But these tools fail to deliver the desired level of accuracy and most of the time is spent on data scraping and cleaning. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of websites makes the ready-made tools redundant as they are unable to encounter changes in the target site. As a result, businesses are turning their heads towards custom web scraping services to address all these issues. These services offer customized data extraction, cleaning, analysis, hosting, control, and export of data and insights.
Diligent use of web-crawling solutions and text mining tools can change the e-commerce industry’s landscape. Apart from the overall sales growth, e-commerce players can save costs with the help of targeted offers and modify product bundles based on customer feedback. Marketers are equipped with the power to provide personalized user experience down to a single customer.