Data Analytics & E-commerce

There is no denying e-commerce is transforming the way Australians do business. Many businesses dread the idea of jumping online and embracing digital interactions with customers. They are, most of the time, somehow convinced of the benefits of e-commerce but not yet willing to “invest”. Those that have dared to conquer the digital realm are however reporting astonishing returns on investment and nowadays, going digital is no longer a strategic path, it is a necessity. Disruption is coming and businesses have to quickly adapt.

User participation, network effects and user-generated content are important pillars of a great e-commerce strategy but its strength takes essence in a business’ overall ability to analyse, manipulate and use the data it collects and generate through its e-commerce platform. The literature refers to it as the “Big Data Analytics”.

Big Data simply means significantly large datasets that are stored and analysed with the help of latest technology to provide meaningful insights to the business and help in decision making. Ecommerce Big Data Analytics is nothing but the process of collecting and analysing online purchase activities and yet it can mean so much more for businesses.

Using Big Data Analytics, Businesses discover various critical pieces of information such as market trends, customer preferences and this can be used to significantly scale up activities and deliver enhanced services customers. There are numerous case studies available online showing that these businesses tend to achieve excellent business benefits.

Big Data Analytics help enterprises to make more informed business decisions, with all the relevant data and data patterns at hand. Data scientists and predictive modellers, who analyse big data from varied and multiple sources use big data to come up with transactional other structured extremely meaningful and useful data.

At William Buck, we believe that the following 4 ways to use e-commerce data analytics strategies will help businesses, no matter what their size is, to improve ROI in 2020:

  1. Effective Customer Service

    — The success of any e-commerce business depends on effective customer service. Big Data Analytics will help in identifying major issues and resolving them by enhancing their processes and creating a unique and reliable experience so that customers enjoy transacting with them through a wider variety of channels.

Business need to focus on reducing missed customer communications: 75% of people who contact a company for customer support via social media expect a response within an hour and a prompt response to a complaint on social media can actually increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%1 . And all of this needs to be done in “real-time” as the ability to collect data about customers in and respond quickly is increasingly what separates successful brands from the rest of the pack.  And the only way to do this efficiently with the volume of interactions occurring is by harnessing big data.

The true value comes from assessing real-time customer data in the context of other real-time business data to create real-time customisation, quickly identify new product or service line opportunities, improve personalised offers and even driving the customer service and experience with the same Big Data.

  1. Enhance Pattern Analysis

    — Big Data Analytics is a great way of understanding customer’s shopping behaviour and predict patterns that will help make better business strategies.

Customer’s preferences, most popular product or service lines, any product that people are seeing multiple times but is not offered by your business, spikes in demands, what time of the year do customers shop more, so on and so forth can be assessed through big data analytics.

  1. Predict future operation plans

    — Big Data analytics gives businesses a greater depth in understanding of their overall operations. E-commerce will have the added advantage of flexibility in deciding the best ways of operational efficiency

Using data for ecommerce helps effectively manage, inventory, supply chain, forecasting demands, sales strategies and last but not least: better pricing strategies. For many customers, the decision of whether or not something is worth purchasing can come down to a simple change in pricing. With quality data in hand, businesses are better equipped to know which pricing strategies will make the greatest impact on their customers… and bottom lines.

  1. Increase focus on Micro Moments

    – “Micro Moments” is the latest e-commerce trend. Customers generally seek quick actions — I want to go, I want to know, I want to buy, etc and they look at accessing what they want on their smartphones. For example, a recent Google survey revealed that 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task and 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy2.

Businesses must use these micro-moments to foresee customers tendencies and action patterns and obviously smartphone technologies help big data analytics to a large extent here. It is therefore crucial for each e-commerce platform to smoothly integrates with the mobile technology. And when it comes to Micro moments business must:

  • “Be There” : thanks to Google Analytics and search engine programs, it is possible to mine the common search phrases that customers could be using to find brands or alternatives. Businesses must dig out such anticipated search terms and proactively prepare to be available and serve their customers when they have a micro-moment.
  • “Be Useful”: They must also ensure that the relevant product or service information is put forward for them at this instant to consume right away.
  • “Be Accountable”: Businesses must be accountable to provide the necessary information that will help customers get ready to make a buying decision. At first, customers want relevant and contextual information served online and they want to keep things “private”. Finally, customers want online payments to be secure and safe. Big data analytics helps in identifying fraud-related activities and any threats to its processes. Big data helps in having various payment options in one centralised platform thus making the payment process easy and convenient for customers. There are no alternatives Businesses MUST show that they are customer-centric and take user data security and privacy seriously and can only achieve this through Data Analytics.

Conclusion

With the digital disruption and the rise of e-commerce comes a shift in the nature of the consumer-business relationship. Consumers now have more control over how, when and where they shop, with more power shifting to the consumer, it might be now up to businesses to offer more convenience, service, choice, better delivery, and other benefits to boost their competitiveness. This can only be achieved in a highly global world through the concept of Big Data Analytics.

Indeed, as the digitalisation of the business world is occurring and provoking a shift of power away from businesses to customers, businesses need to not only be present online and actively engaged, they need to take advantage of the enormous pool of data which comes with it in order to stay agile and remain competitive.

Through Big Data Analytics, they can leverage more effective marketing campaigns, develop the kind of products that their customer base actually wants, improve customer retention,  gain an edge over their competition and discover opportunities for generating greater revenue (or margins). They find innovative and pertinent ways to improve, in real time, their customer service delivery and make their operations more efficient.

This article highlighted 4 areas of focus for businesses to mine, analyse and effectively use their e-commerce data. First, they must offer an effective customer service and use Big Data Analytics to identify issues and resolving them by enhancing their processes and creating a unique and reliable experience for customers. Second, they must enhance the way they analyse the data to come up with predictive patterns  to anticipate the market and act in “real-time”. Finally, they need to create and foster “Micro Moments” with customers who seek quick actions and want to transact with businesses that are “there”, “useful” and “accountable” through their e-commerce platform.

If this is all sounds foreign to you and your business, your business strategy must most likely be re-visited. And if you think this does not apply to your business, you are in denial and will not survive.

William Buck can help you and your business strategies in the digital world. Call us for more information.