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Brands are constantly looking for a competitive edge over their rivals and for ways to retain customers by improving customer experience.
There is a powerful solution right at their fingertips in the form of Big Data & AI.
The problem is that, although many business leaders have introduced Big Data into their operations, very few know how to use it effectively. According to a recent Forrester report, only 11 percent of brands use customer data to create a unified view of customers.
What is Big Data? And why is it important to eCommerce?
In brief, Big Data & AI refers to massive data sets that, when analysed and broken down, reveal patterns and trends in customer behaviour.
Brands can use Big Data & AI to extract new insights about shopping habits and geographical trends, transform decision-making and enable improved targeting that significantly boost eCommerce performance.
eCommerce and the data economy
The popularity of online shopping, as we’ve demonstrated in other blogs, has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown. And it’s likely that consumer shopping trends formed by new online shoppers will solidify in the long-term.
eCommerce was already swiftly on the rise before lockdown and expected to reach $6.54 trillion in global retail sales in 2022, thanks to mobile accessibility, swift, secure payment gateways and the ability it gives people to shop ‘any place, any time’.
The result of this eRetailing boom has led to an explosion in consumer data and a new global retailer ‘data economy’ – and this will grow even further thanks to online behaviours consumers have developed during quarantine.
The most forward-thinking brands have realised how incredibly important it is for them to truly understand their customers and deliver the very best consumer experiences they can, as these factors can have a huge impact on customer brand perceptions and sales results.
Therefore, brands must focus on leveraging Big Data & AI to improve conversion activities that drive online sales and increase overall competitiveness in a crowded marketplace.
Which data can help optimise eCommerce conversions?
Below is an example of how British clothes retailer Very uses a powerful combination of data-driven personalisation, geography and previous buying behaviours to recommend a product based on the weather.
Brands can optimise eCommerce conversions using data from a variety of sources, including geographic, demographic and customer experience (CX) data.
The geographical location of customers – drawn from billing information and the location of website visits – is an important data point.
Just because customers behave one way in a certain country, it doesn’t mean that customers in a different geographical location will behave the same. Understanding these differences will influence the ways in which brands target customers with marketing messages or manage their supply chains.
Similarly, demographic data – age, gender, ethnicity, family and marital status, employment status and income level – has a key role to play in helping brands understand whether or not a product is suitably positioned to convert sales among potential markets.
Big Data & AI will also help brands create or enrichen customer personas – essentially characteristics that represent various segments of your customer base – that give them crucial insights into their customers’ lifestyles.
These might include: what motivates them, who influences them, their previous behaviours, which Product eContent they respond well to and how they make purchasing decisions.
The CX bar has been raised
Brands should also be using CX data derived from social listening, reviews and ratings or surveys – to monitor what their customers say about them and their competitors online.
CX data can help brands understand their weakness in the eyes of potential customers, such as product selection, inadequate Product eContent or after-sale customer service.
Data can also tell brands which types of marketing or promotional channels customers are most likely to engage with and respond positively to – a very important factor, given that a study has found that 71 percent of consumers prefer digital ads targeted and personalised to them.
Salesforce’s recent State of the Connected Customer report demonstrated how far the customer expectation bar has been raised, with 84 percent of people surveyed saying that CX is as important as the product or service provided. Great eCommerce customer experience is very hard to achieve without the data to inform and inspire it.
In conclusion – Big Data is crucial to maximising eCommerce growth
Your competitors could be shaping high quality, personalised online shopping experiences based on consumer behaviours and trends which increase the chances of converting casual shoppers into active buyers.
There is a danger that your organisation may be falling behind its eCommerce rivals because it has hesitated to introduce an effective data strategy. Or because it has failed to invest in the capabilities staff need to be able to properly understand and make the best use of powerful consumer data.
eBusiness Institute has designed a Big Data & AI capability building program to give business leaders the data insights and practical knowledge they need to maximise company growth, productivity and eCommerce performance. Please contact us if you would like to learn more.
This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.
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