E-retailers have access to a massive amount of consumer data and that data can be tremendously valuable, but many might not know which data points to leverage to meet their business goals. However, it is critical for entrepreneurs to take advantage of big data to better understand their current and prospective customers and create a strategy to scale success.
By ensuring that the following five areas are implemented into a marketing campaign, ecommerce merchants will have the upper hand in not only attracting new customers, but also retaining current customers and, in some cases, upselling in order to gain a larger profit margin.
Identify Customer Demographics
Collecting demographic information from your customers helps paint a picture of your target audience. Do purchases skew male or female? Are they centered in the midwest or large cities? Identifying demographic information is the first step in understanding how to communicate with audiences and helps to craft messages that will resonate the best – ones that will stand out among competitors and draw clicks that lead to purchases.
Classify Customer Lifestyles
After identifying customer demographics, the next step is to classify customer lifestyles. Are the top customers moms or millennials fresh out of college? Although the overarching messages that your business conveys will be the same across all audiences, there are many opportunities to personalize messages and communications based on the customer and not only where they are in the purchasing cycle, but also based on insight into their overall lifestyle as well. Merchants who are not taking advantage of big data to analyze customer lifestyles and personalize messages are left to a “spray and pray” marketing approach that may or may not be effective in driving results.
Pay Attention to Email Analytics
Email is essentially a one-on-one conversation with customers and generally the preferred medium of communications. However, are consumers actually reading and acting on the promotional emails that land in their inboxes? Analyzing the open rates, bounce rates, and engagement statistics will provide insight into the effectiveness of an email campaign and which consumers it is resonating with. Keeping a close eye on this data allows e-retailers to adjust appropriately so messages do not go ignored. Mastering email communications will create more traffic to an ecommerce store, ultimately gaining loyal customers and increasing sales.
Capitalize on Purchasing Trends
When do top customers make the most purchases? Is it during the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or is it on Saturday mornings before the kids wake up? Identifying specific purchasing trends will help to shape marketing campaigns, and allow merchants to adjust strategy according to what’s driving sales. Tracking sales, whether based on average cart size, time of purchase, or what products sell best, shows e-retailers the most ideal days and times to communicate with customers and which products to promote at certain times. This data allows merchants to better focus marketing strategies, and to understand what worked and what should be adjusted before launching the next campaign.
Understand Traffic Sources
What drives customers to a specific ecommerce site? Are they typing in the URL, linking from a social media post, or a clicking through from a forwarded email newsletter? Knowing the mediums that bring customers to an online store is a key component to understanding where an audience is, how to engage with them, and where to invest marketing dollars. For example, if the bulk of customer traffic is from social media, take a look at increasing the amount of promoted tweets or Facebook posts. Increasing efforts to promote an ecommerce site on channels that are already successful will help drive more traffic and boost sales.
By effectively harnessing big data and executing a smart data strategy, ecommerce merchants of all sizes can better understand key audiences, and in most cases, plan, implement, and adjust a marketing and merchandising strategy in-real time. The most successful e-retailers are those who not only sell products, but those who leverage all of their data assets to ensure they are smart in the approach to marketing, merchandising, and selling.
Bruno Leveque is Co-founder of PrestoShop