The biggest challenge when it comes to residential proxies lies in the fact that you have customers from all over the world. People buy in different currencies, pay different taxes, use site versions in different languages (often even viewing different pages), and more. According to one statistic, about one-third of the world shops online.
Although you’re globally present, as a person, you can be in just one location at a time. The only way to get all these different perspectives and emulate your omnipresence is through proxies. Here’s how these platforms can improve your e-commerce business performance.
1. Bypassing geo-restrictions
In the past, prices were regional. Products that were locally present were always cheaper than those that had to be imported. The globalist nature of e-commerce changed this for good. Now, everyone can check the cost of a product from across the globe, and it may even be worth their while to place an order and wait 30-90 days for the product to arrive.
Another problem with e-commerce is that it makes a platform/product universally available in regions that historically have always had different living standards. While e-commerce businesses could, technically, charge more for people from more affluent areas, this wouldn’t seem fair. Still, by geolocating your customer base, unless they’re using VPN, they would have no way of knowing that someone else is paying different prices.
This is a method that a smaller e-commerce business can use to become more competitive locally. For instance, determine price discrepancies and make new sales and discounts based on geographic location. This makes you more competitive in several different marketplaces simultaneously.
With the help of residential proxies, they help bypass geo-restrictions to conduct market research. This way, they can figure out local consumer preferences and trends. Some trends eventually grow out of their region, while others stay local. This doesn’t make them less valuable; it just implies that you must adjust your local offer.
Another perk of bypassing geo-restrictions lies in content localization. While making one global offer is cheaper and simpler, localizing your content helps you milk every market you penetrated. This way, you can quickly and organically grow your revenue.
Ultimately, not all products will do as well across the board. Sometimes, you need to check for product availability first.
2. Using residential proxy providers for web scraping
E-commerce is incredibly dynamic, and the only way to stay ahead of the curve is to monitor as much of the market as possible constantly. You can do this with the help of web scraping.
The number of competitors and industries that overlap with your inventory is vast. In other words, trying to do it manually takes an incredible amount of time and effort. Second, you will eventually be spotted by the site you’re scouting, which will result in a ban, which is something that using a proxy can prevent.
- First, you need to pick one of the best residential proxy providers. The reliability and quality of the provider is a significant factor in this process.
- Next, you need to respect robots.txt. Pages marked with this should not be scraped (according to the site owner’s wishes).
- Aggressive scraping behavior is never appreciated, so you need to rate limiting and politeness.
- The main reason why you need a provider is so that you get access to IP rotation. This way, you minimize the chance of being IP banned.
- Finally, monitor these sessions and set up your scraping processes to handle sessions appropriately.
When improving your platform, you’ll sometimes have to use the data of others. Sure, web scraping comes with its own ethical and legal considerations. Some sites even go as far as to prohibit this in their terms and services specifically. However, if you’ve studied these terms of service thoroughly and see no objections, you can proceed with this as planned.
Information from other websites is useful when it comes to marketing. Overall, scraping helps you set the course of your entire e-commerce business for good.
3. Handling pricing
The main reason people are web-scraping in the first place is to create a better pricing strategy for your enterprise.
The problem with price monitoring is that you need a big enough sample. Once you gather enough prices from enough competitors, you can do the analysis, but what if you get blocked before that? If you are flagged as a scraper (which you are), you’ll get blocked from accessing these sites again.
Why does this even matter? After all, once you’ve got the data, you’ve got the data, right? Well, not really. You see, prices change, and you must be the first to notice when your competitors start raising/dropping prices on some of their products. What if they’re having sales or limited-time offers? If these instances are recurring, you want to know the frequency so that you can emulate their strategy or prepare for the change in the market.
In other words, you’re not just monitoring the price; you’re trying to set up a dynamic pricing system based on real-time competitor data analysis.
To stay competitive, match your competitors’ prices. You also want to optimize margins or conduct demand-based pricing. Keep in mind that since demand changes, demand-based pricing will also evolve.
This requires a tremendous amount of data and often takes place across many industries. This is why it’s so important that you use a residential proxy. This will prolong your activity and make the results of your analysis more reliable.
While we live in a world that’s becoming more globalized by the hour, regional data still matters. Local trends dominate local markets, and cultural nuances must be considered if you’re ever to penetrate a local market.
One of the most important things to analyze is the competition inventory levels. When too many competitors are out of stock, there will be a global shortage. In this scenario, a cunning head of an e-commerce business or a sales manager will make a stockpile and wait for the shortage. This way, they maximize their profit. This is just one example of how the use of mass surveillance with the help of a proxy can help you spot a market opportunity.
Also, you must understand that almost no trends penetrate the market in a single day. Someone is always an early adopter, and you can take this incredible opportunity by conducting this kind of analytics.
Now, imagine that you’re running an ad campaign. You deal with advertising specialists who promise to conduct your ad campaign in a certain way. With the help of a residential proxy, you can easily check how these ads behave in many different circumstances. You can check their effectiveness (from the standpoint of a regular user) and see if your partners have delivered on their promise.
Perhaps most importantly, you can check the regional effectiveness of your SEO campaign. Trying to do this globally without a proxy is like observing global climate change through your office window. With a good residential proxy, this won’t be as difficult.
5. Fraud prevention
Fraud is the bane of e-commerce. Fortunately, with the help of residential proxies, you can easily improve your base protection. For instance, imagine a user claiming they can’t access your site from a specific location. You should use a proxy to check if you can do the same, thus figuring out the validity of their claim.
Checking the IP location of the user and noticing suspicious discrepancies between their location and their proxy’s residential IP location is enough to flag a session as suspicious. We’re not suggesting that you sanction anyone immediately, just that you should watch out for this activity.
The next thing you need to focus on is price and inventory manipulation. We’ve already mentioned that the same product on the platform may cost differently based on the buyer’s location. This means that, technically, someone could use a VPN to change their location to get a better deal. With the help of a residential proxy of your own, you have a better chance of noticing/preventing this type of exploit.
Residential proxies also have a role in device fingerprinting. They can recognize unique characteristics of devices behind residential proxies and potentially even recognize multiple account creation attempts from the same proxy location. This way, you can spot a fake account from a mile away and take necessary preventive measures.
Residential proxies give you a level of global research and analysis that you couldn’t get otherwise
Being able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes is important, and only with a residential proxy will you be able to do that for customers all over the globe. This ability to bypass geo-restrictions and analyze from different perspectives will give you a huge competitive edge.