September 2, 2021

Retail Business Insights: How to Scrape Store Information to Develop your Distribution Network

In a traditional business model, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers play their roles accordingly to make sure the whole retail business chain works smoothly. With the help of dedicated distributors, manufacturers no need to deal with the logistics of transport or to pay for high warehousing costs. A distributor is the bridge connecting manufacturers and retailers in all industries.

Now, this model has been changed tremendously by the “Amazon effect”. The direct connection between retailers and manufacturers is easier than ever before, which brings a great challenge to product distributors.

In this article, I will introduce what you should know about product distribution, from basic knowledge to distribution strategy optimization plan, so as to give you the inspiration to refine your distribution strategy and hence boost your business performance.

1. What is distribution?

2. What technologies can be used to aid distribution?

3. How to obtain more retailer information to expand distribution channels?

1. What Is Distribution?

Distribution involves making a product available for purchase by sending it onto the market. It involves transportation, packaging, and delivery.

A distributor refers to the one who purchases, stores, and distributes products through a distribution channel onto the market. Generally speaking, a distributor is a part that connects retailers and manufacturers.

The right distributor can enhance a brand’s exposure in the product market through speedy and effective distribution.

2. What technologies can be used to aid distribution?

As technology develops, more and more highly functional tools emerge as new business solutions. In order to streamline the distribution workflow, many distributors would make use of some software or tools. Whether you are a manufacturer cooperating with your distributors or a distributor looking to optimize your workflow, it is a good choice to equip yourself with a high-tech solution. Below are some new technologies that can help improve your distribution business.

  • Automation

Automation can speed up the work and free up employee time. An example of what this actually looks like is an automatic dispatch system (Dispatch system simply refers to the basic equipment that your operators use to instruct your drivers where to go next) which is able to automatically plan the optimum route and assign items accordingly. This kind of automation system improves the efficiency of the transportation process of goods and decreases manual work greatly.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT can be a great help for you to increase productivity in the distribution process!

Many tracking systems including RFID tracking allow users to scan product information to track their location. Therefore, users can get information on how their products are distributed and be kept informed of their inventory. They can even use this data to predict future trends for the business.

At the age of digitalization, data has proven to be incredibly useful for retail businesses in terms of decision-making and strategy formation. For distributors, it’s essential to obtain more marketing and industry information to optimize their strategy accordingly. Web scraping tool, Octoparse is the most cost-effective way to collect needed data in real-time.

3. How to obtain more retailer information to expand distribution channels?

Without a doubt, a well-developed distribution network is essential for a distributor as it’s the main factor to increase the turnover rate of inventory, which means you can sell more and earn more.

So, how to build a mature distribution network or how to expand your distribution network?

Let’s say you’re a distributor and now you want to put your products on sale in as many places as possible. The more physical stores you can reach, the higher the turnover rate of inventory you could have.

In fact, the gum is a typical product that applies this kind of extensive distribution strategy. You can see chewing gum on sale everywhere, at gas stations, grocery stores, vending machines, and retail locations like Target and Walmart.

Suppose you are selling products like gum and you are planning to put on sale your products in Walmart, Octoparse can help you collect all the branch stores data.

(Target URL:

We can scrape all the store information, like City, Address, Store ID, phone number in Washington with Octoparse.

Once you get hold of all those Walmart store information, you can better arrange and schedule your work and expedite your distribution network expansion.

Of course, apart from collecting Walmart store information, Google Map is also a great website to help us gather physical store information.

For example, I use the Octoparse task template mode to scrape gas stations’ information from Google Maps.

Most of our wanted data is visible on web pages and web scraping is an excellent technology to help us gather what we need, in this case, physical store information. With the information at hand, a distributor can use it to optimize his distribution strategy and expand his distribution network.

Final thoughts:

For distributors, building an effective distribution network is one of the essential parts of the distribution business. Any flaws in the distribution network can drag you into trouble and may cause failure in the competition. So try using some tech to optimize your workflow!

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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