Why scraping and ecommerce are a perfect fit
Does it really work?
If you’re new here, Two Tap is building an universal shopping cart by
scraping retailer websites. We’re creating a global API for order injection and payments.
Looking back on this year’s roadmap we’ve accomplished at lot. Two Tap now has coupon support, gift card support, shipping options, shipping estimates, instant purchases, and an availability cloud powering product crawling. No more clicks on out of stock products in apps!
Most impressive of all Two Tap now supports more than 450 retailers. When we started out almost 2 years ago the general consensus was that it’s not actually possible to build a scalable and reliable technology that mirrored the checkout process of a retailer. It’s a complex set of systems that does indeed take a long while to develop but once put to work yields some great results in terms of both conversion rates as well as allowing completely new models to be possible.
There’s now 450 pre-built integrations for stores where we can extract reliable product availability information, where Two Tap has a complete map of the checkout and can inject orders.
And it’s reliable, so much so that we always had a live and public demo page that any developer can use. All these 450 stores change regularly and have temporary issues all the time and all our systems respond in consequence. That’s how we built them from day 1. And this is all possible with a very efficient team of only 17 people as of this writing.
Retailers are the ones doing the hard work
Two Tap was built to mirror retailer checkout processes (and their unique challenges) because we understand retailers and cater to their needs.
The scale of their efforts is much larger than people realise. Merchandising, customer support, creating brand attachment, all important marketing and so much more.
The complexity is especially visible on challenges to the tech side. Retailer product teams are tasked to create perfect experiences on desktop, mobile, iPhone (3x form factors), iPad, Android, Windows Phone, and manage APIs, all the while being harmonious with the rest of the company. On the backend they need to have perfect product availability synced across hundreds of stores and their different supported app platforms. And that’s just to keep the plates spinning, not to mention creating tailored experiences for their own brands, the thing that actually separates them from the pack and creates consumer loyalty.
No two retailers are the same
In an ideal ecommerce world every retailer would have one API that we’d all communicate with. It would be instant, up to date, and it would
support all complexities. It would be easy to use and scalable.
It would be one standard supported by all retailers.
What we’ve learned is that RARELY happens in tech. Where better to look than browsers? There are only four big browsers, and it’s taken them almost four years to arrive at a consensus about how HTML5 should work.
Multiply that by a couple of thousand providers and add payment
processors to the mix to understand the scale of the issue we’re
Retailers traditionally either move forward, or are left behind with bleeding KPIs. As a retailer, implementing an API also means bringing everything in house. Control, management, payments, all these elements would have to be rebuilt from scratch, all the while creating yet another API codebase dedicated that will have to maintained for years to come. Because once you release an API you have to assume it’s going to be used long term, on apps and websites you can’t control. To support order placing publishers and app developers would be forced to integrate hundreds of APIs, each with their own logic and format.
Scraping, the perfect solution to the biggest challenge in the space
We’re now at 450 supported retailers through Two Tap and adding 75 new ones monthly. It takes about a day to build intelligence about a new retailer’s checkout system, and our team is working on multiple integrations simultaneously.
We have a merchant support team dedicated to adding and maintaining all these integrations. Two Tap’s team can scale easily to add stores even faster in the future. For quick adoption retailers don’t have to do any work to integrate Two Tap, from their point of view these pre-built integrations already exist and are ready to be used under their control through their affiliate channels.
Reliability is key. In ecommerce it’s a disaster to lose any sale. Part of our secret is having in depth knowledge of these challenges and having built the system around specific failures on the retailer’s site and their rate of incidence.
There’s daily and weekly regression tests that help with this. More so, if an order doesn’t go through for whatever reason, a complex alerting system triggers and logic is always used to deal with a ticket: whether it’s retrying pushing the order because of a failure on the retailer’s site or actively catering to integrations (our team is 24/7 on call), order success rate hasn’t been at all impacted by the type of technology used by Two Tap. And that’s one our biggest reasons to be proud of what we’ve built, especially considering the general belief that it’s impossible to scale a system built on scraping.
Yes, it is scraping, and yes, it’s a successful and reliable solution in today’s ecosystem. It’s the only way to build independent infrastructure that can plug into any retailer site and connect the dots in today’s ecosystem. The universal buy button is finally here.
Is scraping unreliable as a concept? Yes, but the system built on top doesn’t have to be if it accounts for edge cases. The benefits of growing rapidly and being able to support thousands of retailers greatly overcompensate the few downsides and there’s an enormous amount of enthusiasm around being able to finally pull the trigger on an order from
anywhere across connected devices going to any retailer out there.
A cog in the current ecommerce space
Retailers use affiliate programs to manage their relationships with publishers and app developers. This allows retailers to manage and control who sells their products, tackle fraud, and handle payments. Networks like Commission Junction, Share A Sale, or Affiliate Window and outsourced program managers like Acceleration Partners, have decades of experiences helping retailers manage third party publishers as an acquisition channel.
Two Tap plugs right in the existing ecommerce infrastructure by being fully compatible with all affiliate solutions and allowing retailers to keep their existing control channels. Retailers are free to change their websites and Two Tap adapts to the new changes, being an umbrella and offering THE essential piece of infrastructure required by anyone that wants to bring or incorporate ecommerce in their product experience.
And publishers keep using their affiliate accounts with companies in the affiliate space.
Scraping doesn’t scale?
Just like Google’s original goal of organising the world’s information and making it available, we’re building the pipes needed to build the future of ecommerce, wherever it’s heading.
Two Tap now supports 450+ stores with a team of just 17, growing faster than anyone in the space and so far the first shopping cart to have a model that scales. Our conversion rates are amazing on mobile and we have our integration partners to thank for that.
And most of all, retailers are happy because we’re sending them more
sales, preserving their CRM data and existing tech stacks, all under their control.
Let’s talk! If you’re a retailer that wants to extend your reach with remote buying in third party apps or an affiliate that wants to increase your conversion rates with a universal shopping cart and offer the best shopping experience in your app then get in touch at hello@.