The E-commerce Industry Automated Threat Landscape | Download the Report

The E-commerce Industry Automated Threat Landscape | Download the Report

Top 4 bot threats every eCommerce business owner should know

October 20, 2016 | All Automated Threats Bot Prevention Technologies

Price Scraping Prevention

Let’s say you have an eCommerce store that is up and running. The goods ready to sell and the inventory ready to be displayed to the users. But have you thought of bots a.k.a computer programs? These are automated programs that can steal prices and content, manipulate your analytics and emulate a human. There are good bots too, like search engine bots or RSS feed bots that you need not worry about. The bad bots are the ones that will cause the most damage. The threats caused by these malicious bots are damning and permanent. They can ruin your pricing strategy and put your business in trouble.

Here are the top four bot threats you must be aware of.

Price Scraping

This is the most eminent and common type of threat faced by renowned shopping websites with dynamic pricing in place. The pricing information is often stolen by competitors in order to undercut yours, by setting their prices low and attracting your customers. Such an activity will set off a dynamic pricing backlash that will result in a decrease in buyer traffic, low conversion rates and eventually impact the revenue stream.

There are third-party scraping service providers who scrape prices and serve pricing history to their customers (these customers may be your competitors).  If these bot activities are left unchecked, your customer’s buying decisions will be influenced by the competition, broadly affecting your e-commerce business on the whole.

Content Scraping / Product Catalogue Scraping / Content Theft

Product images, description, specifications, discussions, seller information, product catalogues, and ratings are stolen by scraper bots, only to be featured on a different site with a change in titles and names to disguise it as proprietary content. Travel and shopping sites are the most prone to this type of threat and are often troubled by competitors and new entrants in the same domain or third -party scrapers who would sell the content in a different market.

Content scrapers often attempt to pass off stolen content as their own and fail to provide attribution to the content owners.  This kind of malicious activity affects the SEO ranking of the original source of the content and in some unfortunate cases might even lead to penalization by search engines for content duplication. Developing expert content requires website owners to invest a lot of time and money and losing the data to theft will only sabotage the brand reputation and brand equity.

Competitor pricing based on Inventory Level

A simple Google search resulted in the below job posted on freelancer.com. Here, the motive is to download every inventory available on an e-commerce site.

block price scraping bots

All the inventory data obtained through bot scraping is used for competitive intelligence to increase prices whenever the competitor’s inventory is low and similarly decrease prices when the inventory is adequate. With such kind of pseudo-dynamic pricing in place, a competitor can negatively impact your market share..

Cart abandonment

According to research 65% of the carts get abandoned during checkout. Sometimes bots created by competitors or scrapers can create these ghost carts. Bots run scripts that can populate carts with products, only to be abandoned later. Genuine users will not able to access the same inventory as it has been booked and held in carts by bots. Internally, this will cause skewing of analytics, hence the conversion rates analytics will not be accurate due to the lack of differentiation between bots and humans. The internal sales team will receive false data and will be forced to make wrong decisions.

You need to get these pesky bot threats out of the way. You can concentrate your workforce, strategies and resources on developing your business further. More accurate analytics will allow your internal teams to make better decisions. With ShieldSquare bot prevention, you never get false positives, which will always ensure that your site is always viewed by human traffic. What more? Your content is safe, and not outranked by its duplicates elsewhere.


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