Choosing a web scraping vendor? 6 things not to consider!
What is it like running a large online supermarket? Ask Jason in Illinois. While it has been going steady, he acknowledges that things have been on a decline in the last 2 years. He has been finding it difficult to understand what is selling well in how much volume at what point in time. He understands that these are pain points that prevent his business from scaling past competition. He realizes that it is important to keep tabs on preference, choices, opinions and thoughts of the customers. But, how does he go about it?
The answer lies in building a strong data warehouse and then analyzing this for making the right decisions in order to
- Attract target customers (know about their preferences and opinions to design specific marketing messages),
- Enhance operational efficiencies (stock a certain brand only during a season, suggesting recommendation for cross sell) and
- Reduce cost overheads (stocking at optimal level, avoiding cart abandonment due to unavailability of product)
- Improve user experience (taking stock of customer reviews, their opinions on social media)
Wondering what it takes to create such an impact and influence on your business fortunes with help of data warehouse? The first step to take is to ensure high quality data scraping that helps gather intelligence around these pain points. This way, you are ready to resolve them instead of running around after the issue has happened.
Why data scraping?
As seen in Jason’s case above, the right information helped him understand what is not working with his online store. It gave him guidance on what he needs to do on priority in order to win more customers, attract more sales, and add to his business bottom lines – all with the help of targeted and tactical website scraping services.
However collecting these many data points and then making heads or tails out of it requires specialized expertise. The mind boggling volume of unstructured information over the web calls for competent web scraping services to ably extract and analyze the data. With the information dissemination and proper BI and big data analysis, you can uncover underlying market trends. You can see clearly what your customers demand and can move in quickly to fulfill that demand and make a profit. You can see what customers are talking about, what is their need that is still unmet. Imagine the immense business opportunities that would arise if you knew beforehand the precise needs of your customers? You can get a first mover advantage and fulfill these needs before your competition comes in.
Why web scraping vendor?
Imagine setting up infrastructure, people, processes, protocols within your company to carry out the web scraping work. It will simply add to unnecessary cost overhead. If you aren’t well versed with the value associated with website scraping services, you will not know how to utilize it to grow your business. Also once the initial hurdle of setting up the necessary infrastructure and framework is done, is your company ready to invest in data scientists, business analysts, and BI tools and infrastructure? Makes a tough decision making for the CEO and get management buy-in.
In such a scenario it makes complete sense to offload the heavy lifting involved around web scraping to a professional expert. The advantages offered when you find the right web scraping vendor gives you a far better RoI on your business. These experts have years of experience in mining high quality data. They know how to set up the best web scraping systems that is compatible with your existing systems. In addition, these web scraping companies have everything with them to let your data acquisition unravel information patterns and trends needed for insight based decision making – experienced data scientists, industry endorsed processes, rigorous quality and audit measures, and the ability to dissect information to help your company propel further.
If you have taken the right first step in deciding to go with external web scraping companies for your data accusation, then you need to zero down on a proficient expert to scrape data from websites. While there are plenty of resources, write ups, and expert advice, on what points you need to consider when going for a web scraping vendor, we take a utopian look at what you should not consider when choosing a web scraping vendor. Here is our list –
What points not to consider when going for web scraping companies
1) Having ‘price’ as the ONLY selection criterion
Having a strategic partner for web scraping should be a very well thought out decision. When you employ the services of web scraping, you need to be prepared for coming out of the ‘cheap-is-best’ mindset. The web scraping services offered by professionals look at multiple value addition to your business needs. They employ highly skilled experts that have the experience of using advanced technology and tools to carry out targeted website scraping services. Conversely, the most expensive doesn’t mean necessarily the best. Your decision making will depend on a bit of research to see which agency will best serve your exclusive needs alongwith optimum pricing, to gain a best fit web scraping partner.
This blend of human capital and technology investment isn’t a cheap affair. You need to get management buy-in about the right expectation when it comes to the budgets to be allocated to finding the right web scraping vendor. This will help avoid considering ‘price’ as the first and only option, when selecting web scraping companies to work with.
2) Trying to achieve micro management
What websites to scrape? How much to scrape from a given website? How many records needed in next 15 minutes? These are questions that really don’t add any value to both – the business owner or web scraping vendor. This level of unproductive micro management is just that – unproductive.
Try to have a sensible delivery and reporting ETA. This will avoid issues due to pressure to hurry up and the quality of data scraped will be much better.
3) Considering data scraping as an additional overhead
The planning stage of going for a vendor to scrape websites should not be done thinking it to be an additional cost overhead. It is imperative to identify performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help gauge how the web scraping activity will bring about an improvement in operational efficiencies and revenue generation. Once this is in place, there will be automatic responsibility from the staff to align to the success of data scraping activity, as the KPIs will be tied to their performance. .
Having this step carried out will mean that the action of utilizing the proficiencies of web scraping companies will be viewed as business enablers that will serve to boost the top lines and efficiencies in various divisions’ like operations, sales, and marketing.
4) Ignoring quality as the selection criterion
When narrowing down on a data scraping vendor, a reliable measure of their dependability is the amount of investment they have made on keeping on their quality assurance systems. Web scraping services will have a strong suite of technology stack and skilled professionals giving an additional edge to their experience and domain knowledge. Ignoring this vital criterion can lead to issues during the analytics and visualization stage that can drive your business and reputation into huge problems.
By factoring in the quality systems and control mechanisms in place to ensure value from the data scraped, your company eliminates the possibility of hassles and troubles later on.
5) Ignoring scalability
Imagine if your company decides to ramp up the demand out of the web scraping companies. Will the vendor be able to cope with this spike in demand? What will it do to ensure to cope with the load increase? Will it add in more resources? If so, then how will then ensure smooth delivery that is consistent with what you have been receiving till then? How will high quality levels be maintained in face of such load spikes?
Getting good answers to such critical questions at the selection stage itself will demonstrate the readiness of the data scraping vendor to embrace scalability without a drop in KPIs, ETA or quality.
6) Ignoring flexibility
When the data is scraped it is passed through a data warehouse where it is processed to pass it through BI and data analytics tools. When you get down to finding the right web scraping vendor, you need to check if the data model the vendor suggests is flexible. The scraper may need to extract data from more than one source system. The vendor should figure out how to equip the data warehouse with data that conforms to consistency and uniformity, so that your business can get to the next stage of ETL faster.
Data scraping is a highly evolved activity in today’s times of technological advancements. You would be taking the right first step when you find the right web scraping vendor for this need. However selecting from a possible list of options shouldn’t be without due diligence. Not considering these important factors will be a recipe for data disaster. Get your preferred data scraping company on board after keeping these perils in mind, and you will be bound to extract amazing value from your data scraping endeavours.
Couldn’t find a web scraping vendor that suits your requirements? It’s time to talk to us.