Let’s begin with what Alt data sources are. It stands for alternative data, and by alternative data, we mean non-traditional data sources such as the different forms of data obtained by scraping the World Wide Web. Alt data can also be data bought from data aggregators or search engine websites, used to improve targeted marketing. This type of data can be structured or even unstructured (more likely) and can consist of web-links, textual data, tables of data, images, videos and more.
Alt data sources make up a majority of the data available to us today and as per many reports, unstructured data make up 80% of this. While these forms of data were ignored earlier, rising competition and the need to get more data has made it necessary to use as many sources of data as possible.
Unlike most other businesses, eCommerce companies almost always start with a loss. The reason behind this scenario is many customer acquisition costs, setup costs, costs incurred in different logistical partnerships, lesser website traffic, and more. However, once the initial phase passes, making a profit or at least breaking even is a must if the company wants to stay in business for long. This is the reason why most of these companies are using data and metrics to bring increased website traffic and even get more conversions. Apart from traditional data sources, alt data for eCommerce helps these companies make better data-backed business decisions.
One of the top data sources for eCommerce companies is the data collected from traffic on their own website. This data can be of many types:
But relying solely on data generated from one’s own website might not be viable since every company is not as big as Amazon and does not generate enough traffic to get an idea of customer traits of a large variety of people. This is the reason people go for alt data for eCommerce either by buying the data from aggregator websites, or even better by scraping data from the web.
Of the two options mentioned above, scraping the web is the better and cheaper choice, since you have more freedom as to what data you want to get, where you want to get it from, how you want to structure it and even how you want to use it with your existing business processes. When it comes to buying data from aggregators, you can only pick and choose from their existing data repositories and accept the data in whichever format they provide it.
There are different varieties of alternate data being used by eCommerce sites today and while the possibilities are infinite, we have mentioned some of the most common alt data for eCommerce in use today.
Everything comes at a price and if you want to use alternative data sources to boost your business, you have to bear with those. Some of the most common problems faced are-
Getting alternate data to benefit your business processes might take time and even be tough in the beginning but would definitely pay off in the long run. Keeping data untapped is just leaving out on opportunities. While we understand that building a data scraping team and having them scrape, clean and convert alt data for eCommerce into a pluggable format, is difficult, there are many other options available. One such is using the help of a service provider like us, at Promptcloud, to make your data gathering a two-step process- you give us the requirements give you the data.