How data collection can drive e-commerce success
Today, companies are rethinking their online strategies to adapt to the changes underway while ensuring the continuity of their services. Given how quickly digital transformation has accelerated current business models, moving us forward rapidly in an e-commerce universe ruled by new rules, priorities and expectations, we are entering a new era. This era is defined by an ongoing pandemic that has drives more buyers online, causing e-commerce sales to skyrocket to unprecedented heights around the world.
ONS data indicate that online sales, especially online sales in the fashion and textile category, increased significantly year-on-year, with March 2021 seeing online sales 78% higher than March 2
020. E-commerce Europe recently conducted an investigation into the impact of COVID-19 on the e-commerce sector at the end of 2020 and noted that more than 63% of those surveyed agreed that “Europe’s second foreclosure has benefited sales in line of retail stores’. In addition, Vanson Bourne research showed that 55% of shoppers attended major online discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, with the numbers almost doubling from 24% the year before.
The more we analyze these numbers, the more customers we see moving online, forcing the business models of wholesalers to move online as well, motivating the former retail giants to jump into the online movement as well. Today, commerce is predominantly online, opening up competition and changing the skin of the e-commerce game. To be successful, e-commerce brands take different approaches to their brand vision. However, what some fail to do – and where those who have taken a big leap forward do – is collect, analyze and learn from their data online. The data type ranges from customer, logistics, support, or competitor comparison data.
Unsurprisingly, collecting publicly available data online has become a crucial part of e-commerce. Not only does this reduce the overall costs of the business, but it can also generate good business if used effectively. We live in a real-time economy and data is the new water that powers it. Collecting publicly available online data has become the primary resource for fast and efficient decision making, profit and innovation.
Here are some of the best and most powerful ways that data collection can redefine the strategy, customer journey, and experience of a budding ecommerce business, in order to increase profit margins.
Establish the data needed to succeed in real time
What do consumers want?
This age-old question has mystified retailers for years. It is now clear that consumers want to pay more for more environmentally friendly products; they also want to reduce shipping costs and make sure their products are produced ethically and sustainably. The big question is: how do companies find this information? The answer is very simple: through almost direct online data collection. Obtaining an in-place market view has resulted in the need for near-direct consumption of online data as frequently as possible. This awareness has accelerated the perception of data, establishing it more as a must-have product. This change is also visible in the real-time economy that governs our countries, as we now need more real-time data.
To sum up, you first need to establish the kind of data needed to redefine a typical customer journey and bring real-time analysis to the table. And there are a few options to choose from, especially in the open web public data analysis of customer reviews and sentiments. There is also the type of data used by other companies or even competitors. Businesses also leave a trail of data in their wake, such as customer purchases / transactional data, or wholesale purchases of items, rented cars, rented homes and more. Once you figure out the “what” and the “how,” the rest is up to you. It means analyzing datasets and making informed business decisions based on them.
Too mThere is too much data – a balance is needed
A big problem for most retailers and ecommerce businesses is data saturation. The industry perception is that more is better, when in fact the opposite is true. As an industry, we’ve been fascinated with hoarding datasets and less concerned with what to do with them once we have them. However, think of it the same way you would a city. If the city grows, the roads will get bigger, leading to increased traffic, overcrowding, and slower travel times. The same can be said of the data. The more you have, the more it costs and the more you take on, the more you’ll find yourself drowning in it. Without a systematic approach to collecting and managing data, you can find yourself on the verge of “infobesity.” The best rationale is to take the data you need now, validate it and make sure it serves you well, and then increase it only as needed. Without this approach, you will soon find yourself in a quicksand of information, wasting time and resources, digging deeper into them for analysis, wasting critical real-time decision-making and market intelligence, and losing ultimately your competitive advantage.
Use the data, as intended
Analyzing data, examining every little detail and using it to make decisions is a complex and tedious process. That’s why companies need to look to the advantage of data analytics.
A good example is e-commerce companies looking to make smart pricing decisions based on their competitive base. Taking advantage of automated online data collection allows them to see what their competitors are charging, for example a pair of black jeans. Then, they can optimize the price they charge based on that data, making sure that they keep their prices attractive and, therefore, their consumer base loyal to their brand. Another striking example is that of companies testing a new product or bringing it to market. Public social media reviews, along with product reviews, can provide ecommerce brands with a quick measure of the quality of the offering / product among their consumer base. Collecting data online can also help businesses store the right products, and more.
This data is based on freely available information pulled from all web channels and then fed into a rapidly evolving strategy. By observing what is selling, businesses gain more information that enables them to stock goods in the right quantities, in the right places, at the right time. Data collection also encourages healthy competition in the market. As we all know, competition is good for businesses and consumers. This pushes them to continue to optimize their offers for more competitive prices as well as better products.
My final tip is this: For ecommerce businesses that aren’t sure what to do with data collection, I can tell you this, now is a good time to start. Start small, focus on your data-driven parameters and requirements, and go from there. With so many businesses moving quickly online, every decision matters. And with so much competition, data can guide you to the right market decision. Laser focus on the most important data and don’t get confused by irrelevant data sources. While no business or individual can accurately predict the future, with online data collection you can come very close to doing so.