How To Use Residential Proxies For Your E-commerce Business
The E-commerce market has boomed over the past decade with global online sales predicted to reach 22% of all retail sales by 2023 as compared to 14.1% in 2019. While this indicates that there is a huge market and much profit to be made, it also means that competition is extremely high. And standing out is tough. In this era of big data, one sure way to keep ahead of the competition is by using data-driven solutions to increase your brand’s reach and visibility, engage with your target audience, and boost sales.
Data is free and publicly available, but it can be challenging to collect. Proxies – residential proxies in particular – help to eliminate several data scraping challenges. In this article, we focus on how to use residential proxies to collect valuable data and outline various ways these proxies can be used to promote your E-commerce business. Feel free to use the table of contents above to navigate through the article.
How to Use a Residential Proxy
A proxy – or, proxy IP address to be accurate – is an IP address that is used in place of another while browsing the web. This use of an intermediary IP address can have several benefits including improved security and location switching.
Residential proxies are simply a type of proxy IP address. As the name suggests, these kinds of proxies are connected to physical residences. They can be traced back to an Internet Service Provider e.g. AT&T and Verizon. Normally, proxy providers get residential proxy IP addresses from real people with whom they sign contracts that grant them the right to use the address for commercial purposes.
Because these types of IP addresses are tied to real users and devices, when they are used to access websites, they resemble regular users. This is why residential proxies, in particular, are great for web scraping. Their mimicry of human behavior makes them less likely to be detected and banned.
Residential vs Data Center Proxies for Boosting E-Commerce Sales
Unlike residential proxies, datacenter proxies are not tied to a residential location, ISP, or device. These IP addresses are stored on a server in a data center and sold – or, given for free – to customers for a wide range of uses.
Datacenter proxies are commoner and, therefore easier to get a hold of. This also means that they are cheaper – most cost just a few dollars monthly. They are typically bought in batches. So, when one gets blocked, you can easily switch it up for another one. The problem, however, is that, if a website’s operators decide to inspect the IP address, it will not trace back to an ISP.
Quite a lot of sites outrightly ban the use of data center proxies because, while traffic originating from a data center instead of an ISP doesn’t always mean a proxy is being used, it’s a relatively strong indicator.
Some websites that do this are top social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The logic is that they are willing to sacrifice the small percentage of actual users connecting from data centers to block out the much larger percentage of people that would like to scrape their websites using data center proxies. We’ll discuss this in more detail further in the article.
The sites that don’t outrightly ban data center traffic are often willing to take measures that are nearly as severe. When they notice a particular IP address being used for certain activities, they might ban that address as well as the C-class subnet it’s hosted on. This is more of a problem if your proxy provider uses a single large C-class subnet – which is how most proxy providers operate. Since data center proxies are usually bought in batches, when this happens, the entire batch of IP addresses will be banned from the website.
Residential IP addresses, on the other hand, are seen as more legitimate and associated with everyday users. While it is common knowledge that residential IP addresses are sometimes used as proxies for data scraping, website operators are more hesitant about blocking such IP addresses. So, a single suspicious residential IP address might be banned by a website but that is usually where it ends. That’s because, if the website operators ban a large number of residential IP addresses, they are highly likely to ban a whole lot of real users which will affect their customer satisfaction and eventually their revenue.
So, why does all this matter? The short answer is that residential proxy IP addresses are more suitable for several activities that could help you grow your E-commerce business. In the next section, we tell you more about this.
How to Use Residential Proxies to Promote Your Business
Apart from the general benefits of proxies such as protecting your business’s sensitive data and preventing data breaches, there are several ways you can use proxies to level up your online business in our current data-driven world:
1. Scrape valuable data
Enhanced web scraping is arguably the most valuable use of proxies for your E-commerce business. Above, we talked about websites tending to ban datacenter IP addresses. You might have been wondering why that is. In simple terms, most websites do not want to share their data. They don’t want competitors finding ways to use that data to their advantage.
Also, some believe that scrapers slow down their websites and might negatively affect their customers’ experiences. As such, since data center IP addresses are commonly used for data scraping, they tend to either be completely prohibited by some websites or banned along with an entire C-class subnet once detected.
Using residential proxy IP addresses, you look like a regular user so you can get access to such sites and scrape them for the data that you need. The only problem is that, during web scraping, you need to make several successive requests. Residential or not, your IP address will get banned after a while because such behavior is suspicious to websites.
Enter rotating residential proxy IP addresses. With these types of residential proxies, the IP address is changed often so that too many requests are not registered on a single IP address. Also, if one IP address gets blocked, it is switched for another one so a web scraping project can go on smoothly and quickly. Here are a few ways web scraping can be used to promote your business:
Access to information such as pricing lists of other E-commerce businesses in your niche helps drive competitive pricing and can give you a leg up over the competition.
You can also use data scraping to uncover the SEO strategies other businesses within your niche are using. This can help you find keywords to optimize for and other tactics that could improve your rankings on search engines, increase your visibility to your target audience and boost sales.
Understanding the pain points and needs of your target audience is crucial to engaging with them. Using a residential proxy to scrape information from the comment sections of social media pages, for example, you can gather intel on your target audience. Reviews left on your products or similar products on competitor accounts can help you understand the journey of your potential customers and uncover challenges that they face.
2. Break barriers on social media
With billions of people currently active on social media, it is one of the most effective tools you can use to promote your business today. If you run a small business, a single account on a particular platform might suffice. But, for big companies, multiple accounts are a necessity. For instance, if you run a company with many branches, you might need to create Facebook pages for each of the branches. The issue, however, is that most platforms do not allow you to create multiple accounts. When they find multiple accounts linked to a single IP address, they might flag and shut it down.
Using different proxies to register different accounts will help solve this problem. And since most of the top social media platforms have banned the use of data center proxies, it is best to use residential proxies for this purpose.
3. Get the best products for your customers
Sneaker copping has become quite the trend with a lot of people buying and then reselling these gorgeous shoes on personal E-commerce stores. If you are one of these people looking to make some money out of this booming niche, residential proxies can help boost your business.
Most of the top brands put a limit on how many sneakers a single buyer can get. But, how can they tell users apart? That’s right: through IP addresses! Using proxy IP addresses, you can hide your identity and location, and present yourself as several customers. That way, you can buy more sneakers, stock up your online store and make more sales. You can even automate the process. Learn more about how to set up residential proxies on a bot to buy sneakers in this blog.
Blazing SEO: Residential Proxies For E-commerce
We believe that the power of proxies should be accessible to even the least technologically oriented person. So, to help you understand better, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about residential proxies:
How to get residential proxies
The best residential proxies are from reputable providers that offer 24/7 customer service, a multitude of locations to choose from, and guaranteed fast network speeds. At Blazing SEO, we offer you all of this and more. Our proxies operate at a minimum of 1GBS plus we offer unlimited bandwidth to ensure that any project you use our proxies for is completed ultra-fast. You can also be sure of the safety of your data with us as we have end-to-end control of our hardware.
If you have been wondering how to get a residential proxy for free, all I can say is that it is possible but not advisable. Lots of free proxy services exist out there but it is best to go with a reputable paid provider. Free proxies put you at the mercy of bad actors using the same service, increasing your risk of being hacked.
How to test for residential proxy
If you are an unapologetic cynic, the question of how to tell if a proxy is residential-based once a provider gives you access to it has probably crossed your mind.
Using the website What is My IP Address, you can go to the “IP lookup” section and insert any IP address. The site will give you several details associated with the address including the ISP, city, region, and country.
Although residential proxies are less common and more expensive than datacenter proxies, they are an extremely worthy investment. You can use them to collect invaluable data, enhance your social media marketing efforts, improve your SEO strategy, and so much more. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how to use residential proxies and get the best ones for your E-commerce business.
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