Editor’s Note: The following guest post comes from Patrick Foster, an ecommerce enthusiast. Patrick is going to share with us his perspectives on how to grow your online business with the emerging digital technologies.
Running an online business without using data will lead to poor decision making, stunted growth and wasted time. You risk efforts being spent on dwindling marketing campaigns and guesswork that will ultimately bleed money and manhours. Sure, it’s important to conduct the usual website audits to uncover problem pages and other room for improvements, but for tangible online growth it’s crucial to delve deeper into raw data to uncover important information about your online store. Data offers valuable answers: how to boost your conversions, how to make your marketing strategy more effective, and how to build better relationships with your customers. All of this information lies hidden in your data, you just need to know how to read it. Here is the most important data that you need to capture to ensure the success of your online business.
The use case of big data for ecommerce
Big data is valuable to ecommerce store owners because it allows businesses to analyze huge volumes of information which, if used in the right way, leads to detailed insights and better business decisions. The amount of data collected via an online store is inconceivably high, and only a small percentage is actually analyzed for insights by most companies.
This potentially untapped raw data holds the key to unlocking significant business details like:
- Lead-generation ROI and customer churn
- Channel-specific conversion tracking
- Site failures and their root causes
- Fraudulent activity (before it affects your business).
Leaning on precise data will enable thorough and scientific decision making based on real-life analytics, so make sure that your business is equipped to deal with the demands of big data. It’s an absolute ecommerce must-have — take a look at how Amazon is using big data for success.
That being said, don’t get too caught up in big data when it’s unrepresentative, incomplete or redundant because it will lead to bad decision making based on ‘bad data’. Try to ensure that data is kept up-to-date and is not skewed by company bias, poor results, or irrelevant stats. Bad data will lead to bad decisions so learn how to parse yours.
Online analytics tools: smart integrations for your store
Get good at tracking ecommerce metrics across the board with the help of analytics tools.
Analytics tools are invaluable for ecommerce merchants. They allow you to see how well your store is doing, and help with improving ad campaigns, launching new products, and upping social media engagement. There are lots of different free and paid analytics tools that every ecommerce store owner should use. Take a look at some of the best options here — you want to invest in a few key ones that integrate with each other, allowing you to track metrics in near real-time.
Don’t just look at superficial vanity metrics like follower counts and daily impressions — look a bit deeper to see lots of different trends, like changes in buying behaviour and shifts in content consumption habits; these are all important to the progression and growth of your ecommerce store in the long-run.
Analytics tools often come built into your ecommerce store, as with Shopify’s online store builder. This ecommerce environment feeds back detailed analytics and data that is specific to your online store, making it possible to build reports and track useful data to help understand your online store’s performance in a holistic (and user-friendly) way. You should also lean on Google’s datasuite — it’s an invaluable free analytics platform for SEO and web usability. Integrated tools make tracking and viewing data easy. There are plenty of other tools that should be added to your online store mix to maximize data mining — from Google Analytics to SEMrush.
Business intelligence is being used by many leading brands as a way to better analyze raw data. Data mining, business performance management, and predictive analytics are all used to identify and develop new business opportunities.
Having access to business intelligence is crucial to growing a business online and, if used correctly, it can help to identify cost-cutting ideas, uncover new business opportunities, optimize prices, and allow your business to react quickly to retail demands.
BI programmes tend to use an array of different data analysis tools to give a detailed final snapshot of your business.
Programs generally use:
- Advanced analytics
- Data mining
- Big data analytics
- Predictive analytics
If done right, business intelligence has the power to give you a precise and detailed insight into the running of your ecommerce store and give you the answers you need to help your business run more effectively. It’s especially important for enterprise operations, B2B businesses, and companies selling complex products like software.
The internet of things: the future of ecommerce retail
Image credit: IBM
The ‘internet of things’ is already working its way into how we ‘do’ retail online. IoT is disrupting traditional methods of customer behavior, with the likes of integrated retail apps, shopping through social media and ‘smart mirrors’ allowing customers to try on clothes or products before purchasing.
IoT also enhances retail management using technology like ‘smart shelves’ to alert managers when stock is running low in-store, improving efficiency, and eliminating the risk of human error through automation.
If ecommerce brands want to stay ahead of the curve, they need to react to these new advances by beginning to collect as much ‘3D data’ as possible — it’s important that your brand starts to experiment with the frontiers of tech TODAY. Ecommerce stores will benefit from all this new technology, offering customers even more exceptionally joined-up experiences, adding an extra layer of business and consumer efficiency.
Data is the holy grail of success in the online world. It spreads beyond the realms of your immediate business and holds the key to growing a successful business online. Accurate data answers complex (and simple) questions, like what’s working and what’s not; and it helps you make better business decisions that are based on insight and scientific evidence, not guesswork. What data do you find to be the most useful for your online business?
Latest posts by Patrick Foster (see all)
- 7 Ecommerce Friendly Tools With Great Analytics - October 10, 2018
- How to Grow Your Ecommerce Store Using Data & Analytics - June 12, 2017