“In 2017, a friend suggested that web scraping could help us gather the information we needed. We did some online research, discovered Mozenda and created some agents. We ran some tests, got the data we needed and were sold.”
Paul Barker, Founder CEO
Compiling accurate product profiles.
XT Outfitters uses Mozenda to showcase and merchandize tens of thousands of SKUs against much larger e-commerce retailers.
Paul Barker started XT Outfitters in 2004 because he couldn’t find any dedicated skimboard shops. With a computer science background, he was able to handle most of the technical challenges of growing his site. Drop shipping and clever merchandising helped him survive the early years, after which he started expanding into complementary verticals such as skate and snowboarding. Fast forward fifteen years and XT Outfitters has become a high-profile retailer of boardsports and a recent entrant into complementary outdoor categories such as climbing and camping.
XT Outfitters uses Mozenda to:
- collect new product data
- automate their collection of supplier information
- maintain accurate product profiles
- track competitor pricing
Be Where Customers Are
According to Barker, online retailing—regardless of product category—has become a much more competitive business since he began.
“Every skate shop with Internet access is a potential competitor. Our other categories are similarly intense. Regardless of the specific product, though, three key things have helped us stand out in the crowd; we’ve always pursued relationships with as many big brands as possible like Quicksilver, Hurley, and O’Neill, in addition to working with lots of up-and-comers. Next, we’ve purposely created a huge product selection in all of our verticals that is far larger than almost all of our competitors. Finally, we try to be everywhere our customers are. This means that we promote and sell on social media, Amazon, in marketplaces and shopping engines, paid search and through events.”
Complete and Accurate Product Profiles
Offering accurate, complete and timely product information, including available inventory data, is critical for both new and existing product categories because it helps with SEO, on-site merchandising, site search and product filtering. Ideally, manufacturers and distributors would create complete product lists, a regular feed or provide an API. Unfortunately, according to Barker, far too few of them do this. In the absence of accessible or ready-to-download data, XT Outfitters uses Mozenda to collect it directly from their websites.
“We’re adding products all the time so collecting new product data, as well as up-to-date inventory numbers is something we do weekly. It’s a hugely time-consuming and laborious process we used to do internally or by using offshore resources. In 2017, a friend suggested that web scraping could help us gather the information we needed. We did some online research, discovered Mozenda and created some agents. We ran some tests, got the data we needed and were sold.”
Competing Against E-commerce Giants
Since then, Mozenda has become an indispensable resource for Barker and his operations team as XT Outfitters has continued to expand, recently crossing the 50,000 products threshold. The ability to showcase and merchandize tens of thousands of SKUs has enabled Barker to compete against much larger e-commerce retailers, as well as lend credibility when pursuing new distribution deals with established equipment brands.
“We use Mozenda every week, building new product profiles as well as collecting inventory data that we upload into ChannelAdvisor to update all our points of sale. We scrape a lot of sites that are frequently updated. Whenever we have a technical question, assistance from Mozenda’s customer support and coaching staff has been exemplary. Whether we send an email or pick up the phone, the staff is always super responsive and helpful.”
Saving Tens of Thousands with Web Scraping
In its quest to provide everything boarders and outdoor enthusiasts could ever need, automating this critical product merchandising activity has saved XT Outfitters tens of thousands of dollars in outsourcing fees. It’s an advantage that Barker thinks any e-commerce retailer would be foolish to overlook.
“If you run an e-commerce site, regardless of category, Mozenda is a must-have. It’s something you’ve got to use and I can’t recommend it enough. It has made life so much easier, helping us run a very lean operation, reach customers around the world and thrive against much bigger competitors.”