The shift from brick-and-mortar shops in malls towards mostly online shopping opened up grand opportunities for a new generation of entrepreneurs. While it’s true that almost anyone can open an online store now, many don’t succeed due to overwhelming competition and lack of insight.
You can’t do much about the former apart from changing niches. However, you can start making less biased, better-informed, and more impactful business decisions. How? By utilizing the power of big data! This article showcases how gathering and analyzing large data sets can set you up for success.
- Web Scrapers as Key Tools in Today’s Data-driven E-commerce Landscape
- What Exactly Can You Do With This Data?
- What Are The Ethical & Legal Ramifications of Data Gathering & Analysis?
Web Scrapers as Key Tools in Today’s Data-driven E-commerce Landscape
Business decisions need to be agile and informed when running an online store. Enacting such decisions effectively is impossible unless you have timely access to enough structured data to analyze. Much of it is available freely and ethically. You only need to start leveraging techniques like web scraping to collect and make sense of the data.
Web scraping is an automated process that searches all pages on a website for specific data like pricing information or customer reviews. Apart from extracting the necessary data volume, e-commerce scrapers organize it into datasets to which you can then apply analytics tools and gain actionable insights.
What Exactly Can You Do With This Data?
There are few aspects of running an e-commerce store that properly processed data can’t help improve. Using both your own sources and the competition’s will yield the greatest effects. Here’s what benefits to expect.
Assessing customer behavior
Understanding your customers is crucial for serving their needs better. Today’s customers expect their shopping experience to be smooth, quick, and personalized. You can achieve all three by analyzing data about past purchases, the contents of shopping baskets, or the products people spend time browsing.
That’s precisely how Amazon does things. Much of the giant’s revenue comes from analyzing what products people find useful and suggesting similar or complementary ones through an eye-catching part of each page.
Give people a means of expressing their (dis)pleasure, and you’ll be a step closer to refining your products. Scraping customer reviews or social media posts on your active platforms opens up a world of possibilities. On a big data scale, it lets you use sentiment analysis to quickly gauge people’s general attitude towards your brand and offerings. Pattern recognition can also crystalize common issues or desired features worth investigating.
To great effect, Netflix uses customer ratings and personas they can construct based on people’s favorite content. Having almost 250 million subscribers to draw on gives them enough information to create shows & movies for different large demographics and enjoy higher success rates.
Outpricing your competition is a surefire way to get more sales; data lets you be smart about it. Basing your pricing strategy on diverse sources is the optimal approach. Consider your own past sales, seasonal deals, and historical data from the competition. Even ephemeral insights like the weather forecast play a part in offering irresistible prices if you’re running a clothes shop.
Taken to another level, dynamic pricing may even impact individual customers. For example, you can reward repeat customers with discounts not just on their next purchase, but on items you believe they’d be interested in.
More successful marketing efforts
Your online store likely doesn’t cater to everyone. Not basing your marketing strategies on that assumption is wasteful! Having a data-driven grasp on audience demographics, interests, spending power, and attitudes is the first step towards developing impactful marketing the right people won’t mind being exposed to.
Data is a boon to marketing teams since it steers their creativity in a quantifiable way. Marketing departments often struggle to justify their efforts before the C-suite in quantifiable terms they can appreciate. Not so when they have verifiable data to fall back on!
Logistics & inventory management
Maximizing profits is many stores’ go-to strategy, but you can also rely on data to cut costs. For example, data on past trends or lulls lets you anticipate how much stock you’ll need and avoid understocking and over-provisioning. Pattern recognition uncovers telltale signs that let you infer a possible stock shortage among competitors and prepare to offer a better alternative.
Bad experiences with shipping & delivery can turn otherwise pleasant shopping sour. Comparing different delivery companies’ track records or performing a sentiment analysis will help you pick the best-fitting option.
What Are The Ethical & Legal Ramifications of Data Gathering & Analysis?
While information can propel your business past its rivals it’s also crucial to do the collecting legally and with ethical considerations in mind. You don’t have to worry about the legality of data scraping as long as you use only sources that allow the practice. You’ll also want to read through a website’s Terms of Service and respect the owner’s wishes if they prohibit data gathering.
The line is blurrier for ethics, but sticking to best practices will help you avoid most pitfalls. Using data purposefully and limiting your scope to data relevant to your current projects is important. You have an obligation to safeguard such data to the best of your ability, especially if personally identifiable information is among it.
First-rate products, unique customer experiences, and widespread outreach are the cornerstones of a thriving e-commerce business. However, neglecting what data can reveal about market trends or customer attitudes can cause even the most quality-focused ventures to fail. We hope this article motivates you to take advantage of the mountains of data out there to be harnessed and mold it into an integral part of a winning business strategy.