Dropshipping and parsing

Today, dropshipping is one of the rapidly gaining popularity business models.

To implement this idea, you need an online store, and you must fill it with goods. All this works effectively when there are really a lot of products in your store – there is plenty to choose from. In fact, it is best if you become a kind of aggregator in a certain product area, knowing where it is cheaper to get a certain product and, accordingly, offering a competitive price to your buyer.

Of course, you can fill the store with goods manually. However, even assuming that it will take you 3-5 minutes to complete the product, and given that you need to give it not only a description, but also pictures (preferably a gallery of pictures), you need to register categories, tags, attributes, set a price, a discount , accessibility, variable products need to be given variants with their own images, attributes and prices, it is also advisable to perform a number of SEO actions and many other things – often 5 minutes is not even enough. Thus, to create an average store volume of 10,000 products, it will take about 3 months of hard work by one employee. In reality, a person cannot work in this mode for the entire 8-hour working day, so it will most likely take six months.

And it’s not even a matter of paying an employee, it’s a matter of lost time, during which your competitors are already actively developing the market.

It is in this matter that we can help you. By the way, we will help you create the online store website itself.

The easiest way to describe the nature of this service is to describe its stages.

Stages of work to initially fill the store with goods.

Preparation (design) of the structure of the online store

At this stage, it is determined what categories, tags, and attributes your trade assortment will have; which attributes will be elements of navigation (filtering) in the store, and which ones will be only descriptive of the product, will you have variable products, are you planning to be multilingual. You should also decide whether you will continue to update your database from the same sources or in some other way.

Creating a product database

At this stage, parsing is carried out. You need to collect a product database in some format, for example, in the form of Excel tables. If the structure of your store exactly matches the structure of the information source, then this is an ideal case. If not, but your source is the same, then it will be a little more complicated – you will need to implement a mechanism for bringing one structure to another. If there are many sources and they all have a different structure, then this is the most difficult case – in addition to the fact that for each source you will need to create the mentioned reduction mechanism, you will need to check whether this product already exists in your database (from another site, perhaps under a different title). This work for each source is divided into two parts: creating a parser, i.e. writing program code and its work on collecting information from an information resource.

To form a database of 10,000 products with one source, the time is usually 3-6 working days, depending on the complexity of the site, its speed and accessibility. A separate case, exceptional in terms of collection speed, is if your dropshipping partner can provide you with a ready-made database of goods by uploading it, for example, in XML or CSV format from their online store or accounting program. Then all that remains is to write code that will bring this database to your structure and upload the resulting result to the site.

Uploading the prepared database to the website

This is where you prepare a template that will be used when you first load (and subsequent updates) product information onto your site, usually from Excel spreadsheets.

To programmatically “upload” goods into your online store in quantities, for example the mentioned 10,000, it may take from several hours to 2-3 days, depending on the capacity of the hosting on which your site is hosted.

In the future, you can also order support from us or simply periodically contact us regarding updating the databases: adding new products, updating prices or other information. Naturally, in this case, the cost of our services will be much lower, since the parsers and casting mechanisms have already been written, although some code correction may be required due to changes, for example, in the structure of the source site or your site.

Separate question

Our firm is not a law firm and therefore the following text cannot be considered official legal information. We will argue not legally, but logically, as befits programmers)

This question often arises in this area and is whether website scraping is a legal activity. It should be noted here that the consumption of publicly available information is, in principle, always legal in itself. You can record TV or radio programs, no one is stopping you from rewriting a book, you can also save web pages in whole or in parts.

In principle, there are no restrictions on how you personally will “consume and assimilate” publicly available information: with your eyes, ears, fingers or technical devices, whether you will remember it and, if so, how you will do it. Nobody forbids you to analyze or structure information using your own brain or, again, using technical means.

The issue of legality begins from the moment of use. And here everything depends on the information itself, what rights are established for it or related products (copyright, trade, license…), whether it can be distributed as your own or on your own behalf, whether it can be sold without a license or permission of the copyright holder, etc. .d. Since a lot of questions arise in each specific situation, it is better to consult a specialized lawyer for each specific case. On our own behalf, we strongly recommend that you do this to avoid future troubles.

We propose to collect for you a given amount of information from publicly available sources and structure it in a format convenient for you – to do it quickly and efficiently. For example, create a catalog of auto parts, fishing accessories or building materials – any product you may need information about to initially fill out your online store.

Some sites install protection against robots, but, as a rule, this is not done to protect against page viewing, which would be strange in general, but to protect the sending of various spam or malicious requests through contact or other forms. In principle, the owner of the site, of course, can install protection against robots viewing the site – this is his right. Let’s say he wants to reduce the load on the site. But if the robot bypasses such protection, then no violation of the law occurs. Just like vice versa – a person who has not passed the protection established for a robot cannot sue for this either. In the end, the same Google or any other search engine “walks” the Internet, collects information from sites, structures it, indexes it, that is, they do exactly that parsing and don’t ask anyone. You can, of course, “ask” search engines not to index the site using special instructions, but whether they will follow it depends on them.

And in a general sense, robots (at least for now) do not visit sites on their own initiative; they act in accordance with algorithms set by humans and in their interests. That is, the end consumer of the content is not a robot, but a person – the robot is only an intermediary here.

We wish you good luck in your new business and the realization of all your ideas!