Running an e-commerce store? A small business? Big data could help you nab more sales this holiday season and get the revenue flowing in. If your small business has moved online, then you’ve already gained a significant edge over your competitors who are still operating only in physical locations.
Spending forecasts back in October were strong: the National Retail Federation estimated a 3.6% increase in overall holiday sales—and a full 7-10% increase for online sales. Shoppers are ready and willing to spend money this time of year, and you can use that to your advantage by getting your products and discounts in front of them—as helpfully as possible. Whether you’re a small business with a brick-and-mortar location, or an e-commerce shop with no intention of bringing your products offline, you can use big data to increase your overall holiday sales.
1. Using Available Data to Personalize the Shopping Experience
If you’re already using analytics, then you know just how much information is available to you about your online shoppers. Use that data for more than just insights on what customers are interested in—use it to personalize the shopping experience for your site’s visitors! You can use past purchase history, pages viewed, email open rate, and social media engagement to help your system recommend the right products and send discounts relevant to each individual.
2. Targeted Email Offers
Email is a powerful tool, despite dire warnings that email marketing is dying. Nothing could be further from the truth (well-executed email campaigns have an ROI of 3800%!), and it’s one of the best opportunities to send targeted offers. Once you have enough data on your customers, you can personalize emails for different groups based on their habits—with an offer and message they can’t resist.
3. Offering New Shopping Options
Mobile is taking over, since most of us are constantly on the go. You can use this to your advantage by catering to the mobile crowd. Offering a mobile-friendly site is the first step, but it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) stop there. Offering online and in-store mobile-friendly payment options will make potential customers much more likely to make a purchase.
If you’re not strictly e-commerce, you can also use mobile to help synchronize the experience across both your physical store and your online store. Set up a rewards plan or app that helps you gain even more insights about your customers. Some stores have even used location data to deliver offers—once a customer is close to the store or specific department, a personalized coupon is sent!
4. Analyzing & Anticipating Supply and Demand
Keeping the right items in stock can be a challenge around the holidays. Using data from previous years can help inform you of which items should get an extra order, but there are some interesting big data solutions emerging, such as the Amazon Dash button. This is a button aimed at consumers, allowing them to reorder products with the push of a button, but there’s potential benefit for retailers too. Programmable dash buttons are available now, and future developments could make inventory even easier.
5. Shaping Marketing Efforts
One of the best ways to leverage your customer data is to use it for your marketing efforts. Whether it’s creating a series of ads, deciding on the content for your next video, or sending out your email campaign, big data is a huge advantage to marketing teams. With all the information available on what your customers want, you can easily give them exactly what they’re looking for.
Do you need a big budget for data wrangling to get in on valuable analytics insights? Nope! It helps to dedicate resources to the process, but that’s not always possible. What is possible is leveraging the data you have to make a real difference in your business. While it might seem daunting to jump into the big world of big data, it’s the hottest new field in business, and it’s only going to get bigger. As time goes on, you’ll appreciate the competitive edge you gain from becoming an adopter of data-driven solutions. No time for implementation this holiday season? No problem. You’ll be well-prepared by the time next year’s holiday frenzy rolls around—well prepared to make your customers happy and your business prosperous.
Image Credit: Efetova Anna/Shutterstock
Author : Audrey Willis
Audrey Willis recently graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in June. She loves music, creativity, and branding—especially when they collide. She is currently working as a social media and content marketing specialist, and slowly becoming a big data guru.