Supporting Contributor Post
With online commerce, 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 online store owner does in response. Without direct personal contact, it can be very difficult for online business owners 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 allow you to track ecommerce trends, what your customers 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 home business.
With such a huge range of products offered by many online stores, 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 your home business sells children’s clothing, your customers might not remember a long name for a pattern or style of garment. But if he or she can get a couple of keywords 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. And when your search tool gives you feedback on what customers are searching for, you can adjust product offerings to meet their needs. Tracking these searches can be a key part of your big data strategy.
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.
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 home-based retailer of food in or near a large city, you may see that customers are coming to you in disproportionate numbers from certain areas of the city to get products that aren’t available in their corner store. Demographics may have created a niche market in that area that no one has captured locally, so when your data reports that you have people from that area buying from you, 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 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. Likewise, it can help a home-based business to draw more customers, handle their sales more quickly, and be more profitable. A good marketing strategy should always employ data analytics that will give you the best chance to make the most of your business.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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