Posted in:

The Advantages of Using Proxies for E-Commerce and Online Businesses

© by iStock

The internet has opened up the way that businesses trade. E-commerce now dominates the trading landscape, giving you a whole plethora of advantages, such as global reach and the ability to quickly establish yourself and scale. The key is to protect those advantages and mitigate the risks as much as possible. 

Proxies for e-commerce provide one of the best ways to not only build and scale your e-commerce or online business operations but can help to open up new buying opportunities and find better pricing for essential equipment and services.

Monitoring Pricing

The ability to be able to react to any sudden changes in a landscape both in terms of pricing and new products coming to the market can ultimately make or break your business. New trends, or changes in pricing structure can have a considerable impact on your bottom line if you fail to react quickly enough. It is therefore crucial you have up to date information on pricing levels or new disruptors coming into your market.

To do this effectively you need to constantly monitor the market and your competitors’ sites for significant changes that could affect your sales. However, many sites, not just large sites, rate limit access by IP, making it impossible to pull the information you need. Proxies provide the perfect solution for bypassing such blocks.

Watching the Competition

Just watching prices is only half the task. Monitoring your competitor’s general actions is also going to be an important facet of your business strategy. To do this effectively will require daily visits to their web properties, and proxies have the advantage of being able to do this without being noticed.

If you employ a series of residential proxies to scrape the data you require, the competition’s server logs will not flag the IP for unusual activity. It will provide you  with early warnings of potential new products or flash promotions that give you the chance to react.

Monitoring Rankings

You cannot overstate the place search engines have in being successful in e-commerce.  

Knowing where the pages for your most valuable products sit in the SERPs (search engine ranking page) is essential. Without this information, you are effectively running blind. If you see a sudden drop in traffic, is it due to a competitor reducing his price, an advertising campaign that has gone stale, or have some of your most important product keywords been hit by a drop in ranking?

Search Engines Protect Their Data

Although search engines freely list the results of your search, they don’t like you gathering information from them. There is also the question of server load. If you have 100,000 buyer keywords that you search every day, they argue that this puts too much strain on their system. 

Their answer is to block repeated search requests by rate limiting by IPs. This can result in temporary IP bans or the system throwing up captures for every search. 

Location and History Change the Results

Other hurdles exist when attempting to monitor SERPs. One key issue is that we don’t all see the same search results. If you were to search on your main browser and then on an alternative browser in incognito/private mode you are highly likely to see a different set of SERPs. This is because Google, and other search engines, use your previous search history to partially shape the results you see. 

Then there is the additional problem of localization. There are multiple data centers from which search engines, depending on the location of the search request, pull their results. The SERPs that you will receive will produce different results from different parts of the country, let alone the world.

Proxies Solve Problems of Rank Monitoring 

To get the volume and accuracy of data that you want, you are going to need proxies. There are many varieties of proxies that can be deployed. The choice will come down to the type of product search, either global or local specific search.  

With global search, standard data center proxies will likely serve the purpose if you have enough of them. If you are looking to monitor thousands of keywords, it is wise to use large pools of rotating proxies so that each IP is only used a few times.

When it comes to more localized searches, where you need to know where you stand in the search for particular locations, then geo-specific proxies can provide you with the most accurate data.  

Proxies Provide You Anonymity

If you are carrying out any monitoring or scraping of competitors’ websites you don’t want them to know. Many businesses have fixed IP addresses and, by attempting to monitor other web properties directly from your office or establishment, opens you up to identification. Immediate blocks could then be applied to make your attempts impossible. 

Utilizing proxies allows you to cloak your identity. Instead of your business IP being flagged traffic can be made to appear to come from multiple unconnected locations, enabling you to keep your search profile and activities hidden.

Separating Your Internal Network From the Web

With e-commerce you must protect your sales platform and keep uptime as close to 100% as possible. Managing usage spikes and preventing attacks for any reasonable-sized business should be high up in your thinking.

By setting up a proxy server, you can separate your e-commerce platform and the Internet. No direct http requests can get through to your underlying network without passing through the proxy server. This can help spread the load and prevent bots and unwanted traffic. In addition, the inclusion of a web cache can boost your site performance as it will produce faster load times for the visitor.

Powering Up your Purchasing with Proxies

Of course running a successful e-commerce store is not all about selling. You need products at prices that are as low as you can source as well as being able to get hold of the right technology. However, as you trade, you will come up against problems as it is likely you will encounter regional IP blocks or local restrictions on supply, preventing you from getting what you need.

Bypassing Geographical Restrictions 

While Ecommerce gives you the opportunity to trade globally, there may be very good reasons as to why you might be prevented from trading with businesses in certain areas or countries. Think Iran, Syria and Russia; if you operate out of these countries your options are probably going to be limited. There are also some companies that just don’t want to deal with certain types of customers, such as those from third world countries. 

But geo-fence restrictions can also occur on a more local level. Even inside Europe, businesses from countries outside the EU trading block can run up against problems that potential suppliers don’t want to have to deal with. This is often down to tariffs, paperwork and rules. For example,many food items are often prohibited from entering different countries, ultimately disincentivizing suppliers from wanting to trade. 

Using Local Proxies 

The easy solution for these companies is to just carpet geo-restrict access to the areas in which they will trade, even if the buyer is willing to find a solution. Some of these blocks can be quite technically advanced. VPNs often just won’t cut it as they either use data center IPs and their IP pool is over shared.  

Thankfully proxies allow you to find a way around and help you maintain your supply lines and access goods that might otherwise be unable to. Using the correct type of proxies provides you with precision. For example using USA residential proxies can ‘spoof’ your location to a specific city or town allowing you access to get your order in process or research underway.

Bringing The Price Down

Of course Geo pricing is also a common trait. Some companies price lower in certain jurisdictions than others. The price of many electronic items is considerably cheaper in the US than in Europe, while other companies offer cheaper prices for their services in less well off countries. 

Obviously paying the cheapest price for a service that is important to your business can help with profitability. Using a proxy to gain access to cheaper prices makes sense and turns renting proxies into a profitable endeavor as the savings will often cover the costs tenfold or more.

Tax Benefits

Tax has also become a big issue, particularly with the EU. If you are a small trader or just looking to get started in Europe, you can get hit with a 20% VAT (value added tax) charge you might not easily reclaim, which does nothing for your cash flow or bottom line if unable to get it back.

Again, proxies can help you avoid this extra burden, particularly if you use SaaS services or purchase digital products for your e-commerce store. The VAT is often automatically added if the site has flagged your IP address as being inside Europe.

Sidestepping the Tax

If you use a proxy from a country that doesn’t automatically impose a sales tax you can bypass this tax. Although you are avoiding paying the tax It should be remembered that the responsibility to collect the VAT resides with the supplier not you. In the end it is up to them to have the necessary systems in place to cover all eventualities in levying it. 


Using proxies correctly can give your e-commerce business or online a huge advantage. They allow you access to places that seek to shut you out. Help you gather and farm information that might be otherwise unavailable to you. They also allow you to monitor prices from your suppliers and competitors, enabling you to react quickly to sudden movements, keeping you in step with the field and profitable.

Beyond this, proxies can open up doors to countries, products, and prices that would not normally be available if you were to visit from your own region. Using your proxies to allow you to benefit from these factors can often make a huge difference to the choice of services and products available as well as potentially saving you a considerable sum of money.