With online shopping, everything a customer does is easier. There are no lines to stand in, no parking hassles, and even out-of-stock items are quickly handled with rain checks.
But there has to be feedback between what is going on with the customer and what the retailer does in response. Without direct personal contact on the sales floor, it can be very difficult to know which customers are getting what they want and which ones are becoming frustrated and leaving the site.
That's where big data comes in. These analytics enable retailers to track what people are seeking, where they live, how they pay, and much more, all with no additional action on their part. Good integration and analysis of the information they generate can be priceless as your business grows.
Let's look at how you can come up with big data for your online retailer.
With such a huge range of products offered by many retailers, customers can be overwhelmed with choices. Equipping your site with auto complete can save visitors a great deal of time and energy. With auto complete, a user doesn't need to memorize a lengthy name to find something. Just a keyword or two is enough to get there.
For example, if you run an online auto parts store and a customer needs a long-named part like a blend door actuator, it's unlikely that the customer will get the whole name right. But if he or she can get the "blend" in there, the system will recognize it and suggest the full name. That will trigger the customer's memory--"yep, that's what it was!"--and the transaction will proceed. Tracking these searches can be a key part of your big data strategy.
Big data has also made arrest record apps possible. Intelius, BeenVerified, MobilePatrol and Mugshot Search are some of the apps that take advantage of big data. According to recent research from Ingram Micro Advisor, it is likely that big data will play an even more important role in background checks in the future.
While some product offerings are independent of customer location, other choices are tightly linked with where they are being purchased. Obvious examples are outdoor gear that is suited to certain climates, but this is about more than just weather.
A good strategy for collecting and managing big data can go a long way toward profiling your customers in different parts of the country and the world. The improvements you can make from that point are endless.
Food is a good example. If you are a nationwide online retailer of food, you may see that certain areas have no local outlets for your products. That is common with beer and spirits, which may be in high demand by travelers who sample the product in one city and returned home to find their stores don't carry it. If you know that a popular microbrew that you carry isn't available in a certain market, you can tailor everything from advertising to shipping to make sure that customers there will make you their source.
People are creatures of habit and preference. They like to be able to do things the same way all the time. When they shop online, they like to use same payment method as they move from site to site.
Synchronizing with what they prefer to do is critical to keeping them in your customer base. They might complete their first transaction with you if checkout isn't to their liking, but they may not return.
Data analytics that track payment methods will help you streamline the process by offering the most in-demand methods and helping you create familiar interfaces that customers will feel comfortable using.
Big data can be generated from simple tools that can make a big difference in your site traffic, functionality, and profitability. A good marketing strategy should always employ data analytics that will give you the best chance to make the most of your business.