eCommerce Marketing Blog

Are You Using Big Data to Increase Sales?

Posted by Paul Kaye on Jul 9, 2015 4:13:39 PM

Screen_Shot_2015-07-08_at_2.20.32_PMBreaking with tradition used to be a bad thing. Not anymore. Today, doing things differently points to progress and inventiveness. Online banking, 3D printing, subscription shaving clubs: non-traditional one day—market leading the next.

Big Data Strategies Becoming Mainstream

Big Data is breaking all kinds of traditions. The ability to capture and convert person-to-machine/machine-to-machine interaction into useable digital information is powerful—and creating a growing gap between market leaders with Big Data strategies and those still leaning on traditional methods to get business done.  Every aspect of business is benefitting from Big Data, and ecommerce is no exception.

Topping sales numbers quarter after quarter has always been easier said than done. Marketing campaigns have to be timed just right, pricing models have to be appealing yet profitable and customer engagement has to be optimized according to a long list of preferences and devices. Solutions that mine Big Data for market-changing intelligence are changing all that. Business strategies that leverage Big Data for incremental customer wins are becoming more and more mainstream. Decision-makers have two choices: catch the Big Data wave now or keep treading along the same strategic path 

How Did We Get Here?

In the days of Brick-and-mortar, product was set on shelves and customers walked in to browse or buy. If you did your job right, you’d have some of what they wanted some of the time. Forecasting demand accurately was difficult and any intelligence that might improve sales was acted on as it trickled in. Computer technology including CRM systems made things a little easier, but access to always relevant, up-to-date customer data was still out-of-reach.

Solutions now exist that seek, capture and integrate valuable customer data to personalize the customer experience. Customer and prospect engagement has responded well to this newer strategy and those doing it right have seen sales numbers rise. ATM machines flash birthday wishes on your big day, Amazon saves your “ship to” addresses, and Redbox recommends movies you might like right away.  This first push towards personalization, however, relies on audience input. Marketers know marital status, dining habits and favored beauty products only because the audience was prompted to tell somebody, somewhere along the line. This mass personalization using explicit data worked ingeniously for a while, but customers have caught on and are keen on rewarding the businesses that truly know them well. 

What Businesses Do With Big Data Makes a Big Difference

Analytics solutions have emerged that can crunch big data any number of ways using algorithms that put your back-end processes into constant learning mode. How is this being applied to increase sales? Here are just a few ways:

  • Improving the precision and effectiveness of marketing efforts--backing up sales in a big way.
  • Quickly separating clients into more meaningful segments (high-dollar prospects, loyal customers, those ready to walk away) so sales efforts can be focused on each segment accordingly, improving customer lifetime value.
  • Identifying cross-selling opportunities
  • Increasing forecasting accuracy

One analysis of the push to data-centric strategies revealed that companies leveraging Big Data to make their sales and marketing decisions are see a 5 to 6 percent increase in productivity and improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15-20%.

Big Data, Analytics and the Future of Marketing and Sales

Consider this Business Scenario:

Sally goes online to shop for anti-aging products. A company using the traditional approach might recommend products A, B, or C based on the explicit data she gives them (her age, skin type, or even amount she wants to spend). Companies leveraging analytics solutions, however, capture Sally’s implicit data as well (what she clicks on, what she leaves in her cart, what terms she uses to search for a product). Algorithms then relate Sally’s data to similar behavior patterns found in customers who came before her to offer significantly more relevant recommendations.  What’s the end result? Sally walks away with a more intimate connection to the brand and the company adds another set of valuable statistics to their Big Data “brain.”

Creating the most engaging, profitable online sales exchange is just one way data-driven solutions are increasing sales and taking pressure off teams by providing the sophistication to make sense of an overwhelming influx of data.  Best guess and gut feel decisions can only take a company so far. Big Data is poised to take business all the way.

If you are interested in learning more about how businesses are using Big Data to increase sales, download our newest guide Using Big Data to Understand Buyer Behavior and Fill Up Carts.

Using Big Data to Understand Buyer Behaviour  

Topics: Product Recommendation Tips

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