Big data analytics have evolved to represent a new and path-breaking approach to practically all aspects of running a successful and profitable business. It makes complex financial data succinct, gleans actionable insights from tons of customer data, and helps marketing teams discover new and powerful channels for customer outreach.
Big data has brought about a seismic shift in how companies gather customer leads, reach out to potential customers, carry out marketing campaigns, design shopping experiences to delight buyers, and provide timely and intuitive customer support. Marketers have always depended on data to tailor their campaigns to have the maximum impact. But the data of earlier days stand no comparison with the data thrown up by the approximately 3.4 billion people who are online. Social media and mobile are the primary sources of the vast amount of data that is generated at almost every second and offers never-before insights into customer psyche.
E-commerce sets to gain the most with big data ensuring that users are offered products tailored to their needs, at the time and the places they prefer to see them.
Here are a few things you need to know about the use of big data in e-commerce to delight customers.
1. Big Data Is Really Huge
Your picture of the target customer is no longer hazy and shrouded in a mist of tons of undecipherable data. Earlier companies used to collect customer data through a number of sources like email campaign responses, use of coupons and point-of-sale data. Otherwise accurate, useful and relevant data was hard to come by. The data generated was also rarely used with poor data analysis techniques and silos, rendering data almost useless.
Today big data consist of customer data generated through online sale transactions, engagement on a plethora of social platforms and channels, website traffic, browsing behavior, mobile device usage, location data, and so on. The data alone is not of much use, it is the analysis and the resulting actions that are important.
Big data becomes a goldmine of valuable customer information when it is stored and analyzed properly and is used to make accurate and timely management decisions.
2. Offer Personalized Shopping Experience
This is one of the biggest uses of customer-centric big data. E-commerce sites, as well as offline shopping channels, strive to offer a personalized shopping experience to customers. This relies on the past shopping history of customers and tries to offer products that the customer wants at the right time. It is easier to customize the shopping experience of online shoppers because of the vast amounts of data regarding their browsing history, social media interactions, and buying patterns and preferences. This becomes handy to international e-commerce companies that need to meet the demands of customers from various cultural milieus.
For example, if a customer had checked out “yellow minidress” on your website during her last visit, you can display ads for similar products during her next visit. This excites the customer because it is exactly what she has in her mind to buy. If the user allows cookies, you can also understand where she is coming from and promote highly targeted content. Previous browsing history also shows whether the user clicked on an ad she saw on Facebook or clicked on a discount sale pop-up.
One of the biggest benefits of personalized shopping is that you can understand the buying threshold of customers, which is the sweet-spot price that triggers the click to buy and make an irresistible offer. For some customers, it can be the offer of free shipping, and for others, it may be a ‘Prices-drop-as-you-shop’ deal.
If your products are digital in nature, you can show ads offering free trial periods or free limited period subscription to interested customers. This can potentially act as a trigger to buy.
3. Be the Early Bird
Your company, product or niche may also feature in online chatter or may get discussed on chat forums or other online communities. Several social media monitoring tools like Social Mentionand, of course, Google Alerts help you listen in on online chatter about your brand. You can target any keywords that are important to your business and get to know latest online buzz about them.
4. Big Data Increases Operational Efficiency
Big data also helps exponentially increase operational efficiency of companies. Major objective metrics regarding marketing processes versus operational efficiency, asset and budget management, logistic efficiency and resource allocation can be obtained with the help of big data.
Demand forecasting becomes easy, accurate and highly reliable using big data. Amazon has forecasting tools that predict demand, analyze traffic flow to website pages to predict conversion rates, and determine which products sell better when paired with others. Along with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) that uses cloud technology, it becomes possible for Amazon to manage inventory and scale up in real time to meet demand fluctuations.
Analytics-based operational culture ensures that productivity is maximized with minimum wastage of time, resources, and money.
5. Improve Value to Your Customer
Big data arms companies with an enormous amount of information to delight customers and build brand loyalty. The end game is to create a personalized shopping experience that both, delights and satisfies customers. Big data will help you know exactly what your customers want and develop products accordingly. You can craft a seamless customer journey where the customer enjoys a highly customized online store stocked with the products that she wants, at prices, she is comfortable to shop at, and a catalog of products that intuitively guides her to explore further.
So the ultimate aim of big data is to deliver a great experience and impeccable value to the customers. An e-commerce site will be able to tailor shopping journeys of customers to reflect their previous visits. In this way, you can build band familiarity, trust, and warmth using big data.
Big data is the next frontier as far as any business with an online presence is concerned. Harnessed rightly, it can be a powerful tool and help you get high ROI on every marketing dollar invested. You can also streamline business processes and ensure that they work together to deliver maximum value to your customer.
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Author: Manish Dudharejia
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.