From Brick & Mortar Business to E-Commerce with Web Scraping


You have a brick-and-mortar retail business, which means you have a storefront but confined with sales traffic in those areas. Pushing for ecommerce challenges, now you are looking to extend your footprint into the online world.

Migrating business online is a good way to grow sales but it does have its challenges. From online products assortment, product profiles, inventory management to offline storefronts, there are more things that need to be tackled.

Web scraping is the best practice to simplify the process of online-and-offline integration. Especially for retailers whose goal is to offer the same assortment online as in the store. When done right, this could be a great option to become a true omnichannel retail business with aligned product information between storefronts.

How does this offline and online integration work with web scraping?

To find out, let’s picture a customer’s buying journey through a monichannel store. Ashley was browsing the best-selling items on her favorite store website and found an eyeshadow palette. She wasn’t sure if she’s ready to pay $60. So she saved it on the shopping cart. Soon the website displayed the pick up location, while also highlighting a few other popular items that didn’t make it onto the list. She was tempted by the promoted items and decided to try them out in person before purchasing.

The next day, the online store offered a 10% off discount valid through the next 24 hrs, which further enhanced her buying decision. Later that day, Ashley bought the eyeshadow and chose the nearest location for pickup.

As she arrived, makeup specialists applied a full makeup with the promoted products she browsed yesterday. The specialist also explained the ingredients in detail to her, which answered all her confusions about makeup products.This time, she was convinced by the floral scent, smooth texture and personalized customer service. Her bag was full, she left the store with full content.

Not sure if you are familiar with the scene depicted above, but I used to be the happy customer who usually ended up spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora. If you pay attention to details, there are few turning points that influence the buying decisions:

First and foremost, the online website is the premise of the following buying activities. It augments the top-of-the-funnel traffic pipeline and increases the sales lead dramatically. In doing so, we need to set up a product database for online customer searches.

Perhaps you have partnerships with a few manufacturers, but their data is not coming at one centralized source for you to collect easily. Web scraping comes to rescue. It can pick up product information from multiple sources in an organized and structured format. Eventually data can be sync to your online store via an API portal, which connects your online stores and manufacturers seamlessly.

Next, the best-selling compilation served as an assortment directory which helps online customers to find the product as they want. It might be easy to sort the products offline as you can rearrange at your disposal. However, for an omnichannel it doesn’t work the same way. For an online store should fulfill:

  1. Address the shoppers’ needs
  2. Make them exclusive in the eyes of customers
  3. Align with the products you carry in the store

Of course, you carry multiple product lines and there are a number of product variants that keep you out of hand. That is exactly why a full automation is needed to replace the labor work that minimizes both the cash and time investment.

Third, a location database for online customers to pick up/delivery in their regions. This connects the customers with storefronts by serving personalized shopping experiences. If you haven’t realized, over 70% of retail businesses in the US provide store pick up services. To set up a search functionality, it requires a high quality database composed of following attributes:

  1. Product information
  2. Numbers of items left in the stock
  3. Aisle number
  4. Pick up location

These data points usually are not publicly available, yet are distributed in different endpoints. In practical context, both the depth and breadth elevate the complexity of the data collection process. There is no doubt that this makes site crawl indispensable in fetching the data at a large scale.

There are always two options in doing any task — easy way or hard way. Web scraping is never easy work as it involves many complexities in the internet environment. Octoparse leads the market with the most advanced AI technology enabling auto-detection of data attributes from almost any web page instantly. This is not the only reason that makes it stand out. Most businesses go with Octoparse because:

  1. It can scale as you grow. Many startups remain uncertain when looking for target websites. A project usually starts from limited numbers, and quickly gets snowballed to thousands of them. Octoparse provides custom solutions based on customer requirements.
  2. They only deliver high quality data. Promises are always easy. But at Octoparse, high quality data of completeness and accuracy sits at the core of their services. From agency building to data cleaning, they provide you well structured data to grow your business
  3. Get your business on board faster. We know how much time is worth to one business in the face of pandemic. Octoparse’s cloud infrastructure makes scraping of multiple sites happen at the same time.Then sync to your database right away

Amazon along with few other e-commerce big players started to adopt the brick-and-mortar business model, which integrated online shopping with physical stores to reshape customers’ purchasing experience. This shift has shed the lights on the brick-and-mortar business model. It is clear that it has not come to an end. Yet, it’s just about the perfect time for any retailer of physical stores to extend their reach to an online world with a combined operation system.

Are you ready?

The future of brick-and-mortar retail stores is still in its infancy. For anyone who plans to take the opportunity of an omnichannel business model, it is now to prepare for a technology-enabled solution in customer experience and efficiency. Ask yourself how your business is doing:

  1. Are you set to transfer your brick-and-mortar retail store and reshape the in-store shopping experience?
  2. Have you already implemented web scraping as part of your business solution to improve customer experience?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here