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Pavan Jakka

In the pre-ecommerce era where all the sales were happening in physical retail stores, it’s imperative that the company should have a strong distribution network to ensure that their product reaches the last mile customer. The established players have an advantage over the new entrants in this kind of market because of the distribution network they developed over many years of their existence. The birth of ecommerce has leveled the playing field where the big players can’t sit on their laurels anymore and new entrants can compete with them on the same platter. While there are many spokes to the wheel that a brand should focus on to improve their presence online and understand their competitive landscape, we’ll focus in this article on the centre of this wheel i.e., DATA. DATA at the centre that connects all the spokes together, rather let’s say structured data serves as a strong foundation for any decision making that the brands would like to embark upon. Best DaaS solutions can help ecommerce industry players improve sales and boost revenue.

While it seems like ecommerce has been taking away a lot of sales from retail stores, which may be true for some sectors like electronics/mobiles etc., but the zoom out mode probably reveals that ecommerce still has a long way to go to catch up with the retail sales as a percentage of overall sales contribution. A recent Mckinsey report demonstrates that the ecommerce sales contribution to retail is only in single digits in many of major economies and the pace of growth has only accelerated multi-fold since a few years courtesy, the pandemic.

Reference – https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis/charting-the-path-to-the-next-normal/how-e-commerce-share-of-retail-soared-across-the-globe-a-look-at-eight-countries

Unlike other sites, ecommerce data by nature is very dynamic – whether it is on the price intelligence front, stock availability, customer reviews about your product or to understand in general how the competitive landscape is changing. A company needs to have a constant stream of data at their disposal to understand how they are faring on multiple parameters over a period of time. Data acquisition from the web or Best DaaS solutions play a crucial role and a well designed custom scraping solution helps to automate the entire data acquisition pipeline. If you are a company selling your products online, imagine a continuous structured data stream coming to you on a recurring basis, where you probably spend no time in cleaning up the data rather the data directly feeds into your analytic engines and helps you to focus on getting insights from it. 

What Brands Want

Over many years of working with companies of sizes varying from F500 to start ups, the requirements from brands are rarely standardized and the one-size fits all kind of vanilla solutions seldom makes sense for the brands. The use-cases are plentiful, albeit one can broadly categorize them into Macro and Micro scenarios that brands want to discern. 

Macro use-case could be something that a company wants to fathom the ecommerce competitive landscape across various online platforms. This involves extracting data for their competition on a frequent basis and analysing it over a period of time to see how their brands are performing on various parameters vis a vis their competitors. The other use-case is to identify the product gaps where the competition is operating in and how or whether it makes business sense for me to operate in that segment? With the end goal being the successful data delivery, the scale of the requirements and amount of data that needs to be extracted often determines the allocation of resources to meet the goal.

Micro use-case(s) are something a company embarks on a data driven approach to their decision making to improve their presence online eventually resulting in better sales. Listing down some of the use-case we generally hear from our customers:

Price Intelligence 

Am I pricing my product right? How often do my competitors change the prices? 

Often it boils down to what price that I’m selling my product and whether it is competitive enough. The frequency of data extraction varies from sector to sector. There are many where a daily or weekly frequency would suffice, however, high price sensitive products like the groceries, mobiles etc., might need multiple times a day crawl to get the price information.

Availability 

Tracking the availability of products across ecommerce channels on a recurring basis addresses an important problem of maintaining consistency in the inventory present with the sellers and the ones displayed on ecommerce channels.  In addition to this, it also helps clients to track down unauthorized sales of their products. 

Product Rank

Often the case is that users when they search for a product don’t go beyond page 1 of search results. How does my product rank across various search keywords, whether it is getting displayed in the first page of search results vs my competition.

Sentiment Analysis

In order to perform a sentiment analysis, one would want all the user reviews data to be extracted and collected on an incremental recurring basis. This involves setting up crawlers to extract all the reviews for a product and crawling frequently to extract the incremental reviews. 

At PromptCloud, our ethos has always been to provide best DaaS solutions to our clients. The best DaaS solutions include working with the client to understand their use-case and suggest approaches that enable them to have enough data ammunition to solve the problem. The other side of the data is how to make sense of it. A lot of companies have their own internal data teams and want us to just solve the data problem for them, there are many companies who don’t have a dedicated data team and for such clients, we do take up many custom, ad hoc projects to help with the scenarios or metrics they want to look at on frequent basis and this includes indexing and creating custom real-time dashboards used for their reporting purposes. 

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