8 Ways to Leverage Big Data for Ecommerce
Whether you use Audible’s personalized suggestions to find your next summer “must-read” or Amazon to remind you to reorder laundry detergent just as you run low, Big Data and machine learning at work are increasingly a part of our daily lives.
And it’s increasingly important for online businesses, too.
Big Data makes it possible to generate insights from swaths of information that are too large and complex to analyze manually. And thanks to the plethora of data-generating Internet of Things devices, mobile devices, voice-activated devices, wireless networks and more, the amount of data available to businesses keeps growing. In 2021, data growth was measured at 1.134 trillion megabytes per day!
More than just a collection of reports, spreadsheets and servers, Big Data can have a profound impact on ecommerce retailers by helping them make smarter, more impactful business decisions — so long as the data is gathered and analyzed correctly.
Here are eight ways retailers can benefit from leveraging the power of Big Data today.
1. Predict Trends
No one wants to be left behind when the “next big thing” emerges, and this is especially true for retailers. Businesses with the ability to harness the power of Big Data – via data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning – can build sophisticated trend forecasting algorithms to predict the newest trends that will impact their businesses.
Identifying new trends enables businesses to make better decisions across multiple aspects of their businesses — including finance, sales, operations and marketing — and get that next hot item on their virtual shelves before their competitors do.
2. Understand Shoppers’ Behavior
Ecommerce retailers can also use Big Data to better understand their customers’ shopping preferences — including what time of day they like to shop, the products and brands they prefer, and the frequency with which they reorder. Then they can use that data to develop better business strategies and marketing approaches.
Collecting this data doesn’t even require complex technologies. We’ve used basic survey technology to conduct global consumer attitudes and behavior research and discovered what makes customers complete a purchase, why they complain on social media and what they think about online retailers with loose fraud prevention strategies. Shopify recently published its own Commerce Trends 2023 report that illustrates how inflation and spending power impact where consumers shop.
3. Optimize Pricing
Businesses have historically looked to competitors to help determine how to set prices, but that’s changing with technology. This is good news, as this manual process can be unmanageable for businesses that stock thousands of items. Instead, using Big Data, ecommerce retailers can now create accurate pricing strategies for each product.
A Forbes article titled “Using Big Data And Data Analytics For Better Business Decisions” highlights how Big Data can be used to develop agile pricing models that can adjust as market conditions change – definitely something that every business has experienced over the past few years. The goal is to identify patterns that will help you anticipate when to make pricing adjustments that are in line with what the market will bear.
4. Predict Demand
When shopping volume increases thanks to holidays or back-to-school shopping or even just a big sale, online retailers need to be ready. If they find themselves short-staffed or low on product during the big sales periods, they’ll be unable to fill orders and be dealing with unhappy customers.
While businesses have generally used their gut instincts (“I bet they’ll like blue sweaters more than orange ones”) or general rules of thumb (“Everyone shops more during the holidays”) to forecast demand, those methods have proven to be less than reliable. But by using Big Data, businesses can analyze their historical data and make more accurate forecasts.
It also allows them to determine what types of promotions will drive demand. UpCity, an online B2B networking forum, recently published its Consumer Advertising Survey for 2022 and found two interesting insights about the 600 consumers surveyed.
They discovered that in the United States and Canada:
- 77% are most inclined to click on B2C ads.
- 61% would rather respond to an ad from a brand they’ve already used.
Discovering that type of information can help online businesses determine how to approach customers to maximize demand and sales.
5. Improve Personalization
Shoppers love seeing collections that have been curated just for them, and even just calling them by name and offering deals personalized to their shopping habits can result in bigger shopping carts and increased conversions. More than half of customers expect personalization from brands, which requires them to collect and analyze customer data across every interaction. This is how they can show shoppers which products will appeal to them at the right time.
When ecommerce businesses collect customer data (with their consent), it helps reduce fraud and avoid declining good orders by mistake. For example, customer shopping history on your site, including past purchases and behavioral biometric data, can help you determine whether a new but unusual order from that customer’s account is legitimate or account takeover fraud.
6. Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
With more than 30% of Americans saying they’d be willing to switch companies after a single instance of poor service and with so much competition in the online marketplace, one thing that can set retailers apart is the customer service they deliver. Not only does it improve customer satisfaction, but it also helps improve long-term customer retention.
Big Data can help optimize the customer service experience by identifying strengths and weaknesses and can help online retailers deliver the experiences that will keep customers coming back. Data also gives critical feedback to businesses, showing how fast their customer service responds to and resolves customer service issues while also giving insights on how to improve existing products or services.
7. Increase Sales
Did you know that 35% of shoppers will abandon their carts if the checkout process is too long or complicated? Cart abandonment is one of the biggest problems ecommerce businesses are facing today, but Big Data can play a crucial role in increasing conversions and generating more sales. But by delivering a top-notch shopping and customer service experience using Big Data, ecommerce businesses can increase the likelihood customers will make bigger — and more frequent — sales.
8. Facilitate Online Payments
With an increasing number of transactions being conducted on mobile platforms, businesses need to ensure these platforms are keeping customers’ information safe and secure. Big Data can even help here by identifying fraud-related patterns and activities and flagging any out-of-the-ordinary transactions, increasing customers’ confidence in purchasing from a retailer’s site. And by integrating payment functions into one centralized platform, retailers can reduce fraud risks while also understanding their customers better.
Rely on Big Data for Fraud Prevention
At ClearSale, we’re also leveraging the power of Big Data. Our AI-enabled automatic approval technology uses data insights and analytics to approve or decline orders with precision. As analysts learn more through contextual reviews, they feed that data back into the AI system to help it “learn” about the clients’ industries, customers, regions and new fraud trends, which further improves auto-approval accuracy.
As you look to Big Data as a way to improve the customer experience and increase profits, contact one of the experts at ClearSale to learn how you can use it to reduce fraud, too.