How to Improve Your Business By Listening to Your Customer Data
Table of contents
- What Is Customer Data?
- Find Data in Unexpected Places
- Understand Customer Attrition
- Segment Your Audience
- Meet Your Customers on Their Preferred Channels
- Find New Niches
- Figure Out Your Competition
- The Big Picture
Your ecommerce business produces vast amounts of data about your customers. Plus, your customers likely leave feedback in customer support interactions, social media, and reviews. With the troves of information you likely already have, you can make changes to your business to make your customers happier and increase your odds of success.
In personal relationships, sales, and business, listening to the other side is crucial for success. Listening effectively is more than just hearing the other person’s concerns—you must understand and address issues that they raise as well.
In this article, we’ll take an overview of some ways to incorporate customer data into your business improvement process. We’ll look at where to find data and a few fairly unconventional techniques to utilize it effectively.
What Is Customer Data?
In today’s digital environment, data is practically a currency. Through the use of data, your business can make educated decisions. However, many business owners have an incomplete understanding of what constitutes customer data.
Your customers produce data in every interaction with your website, social media presence, advertisements, and communications. Additionally, customers provide a wealth of information about themselves when they purchase your products. All of this information from these sources makes up what is known as customer data. The data a user generates when entering your eCommerce site can be recorded. Analytics allow you to see:
- What visitors look at
- If a purchase is made
- Browsing and purchasing habits
The advantage of data use for the eCommerce customer service boils down to one concept: personalizations. Data allows you to get to know your customers so you can show them individualized offers, and other content based on their previous product views, past purchases, demographics, and content interactions.
Chatbots are growing in popularity amongst retailers and customers alike — 80 percent of brands plan to use chatbots by 2020. Customers also prefer the convenience of chatbots with over half of 1,000 surveyed stating they would prefer a chatbot if it saved them time.
Aerie, store for lingerie and clothing, implemented a chatbot for their Millennial and Gen Z customers. They used the chat platform Kik, and the bot allows users to look through products based on customer preferences. The chatbot presents a variety of products using “this” or “that” scenarios. The customer chooses their favorite product of the two, and the chatbot stores that data away for future product recommendations.
Customer data can be anecdotal, where it primarily describes the experiences of one person. Other kinds of data can be generalized to your entire audience. As we’ll explore later on, these two kinds of data can be understood together to improve your business in a variety of ways.
Find Data in Unexpected Places
In the world of online business, data comes from all sorts of places. On-site analytics, sales information, advertising data, and more are all valuable signals to understand and solve hard problems. Let’s look at some of these in more detail.
Whether you use an external solution like Google Analytics or a feature built into your ecommerce platform, analytics data is a great way to pinpoint sources of confusion. Do customers spend a really long time on one page but don’t make a purchase? Is your bounce rate lower during a specific sale? If customers stumble around an outdated ecommerce site, you might need to perform a Magento migration or otherwise upgrade your platform. You can connect your analytics data with information from the Google Search Console to get a complete idea of how customers arrive on your site as well.
The information you collect on each sale is a valuable way to find the customer demographics for each product. For example, you can tell which products sell well in which parts of the world, allowing you to focus your efforts on providing fast shipping and better service to targeted areas.
Whether your business uses online advertising (like Google or Facebook ads) or other kinds of marketing, your marketing setup gives you information that can help you figure out your audience. It can tell you which audience segments are most interested in your products, allowing your company to better target its marketing. If your company uses email marketing, the open rate can help you gauge your customers’ interest in your business. You can focus on gaining as much value from high-interest customers with better-targeted marketing.
While these data sources are some of the most commonly used, other examples exist as well. Your particular business might have access to specific information that can reveal insights about your customers.
Understand Customer Attrition
To retain more customers for longer, business owners can use data to find and fix the root causes for customer attrition. Do customers generally only buy one product and then leave? What part of the experience encourages them not to come back? You can use large-scale data as well as specific data points to model attrition.
In particular, look for customers’ last experiences. If lots of customers buy a specific product and then don’t come back, they probably had a poor experience with that particular product.
One particularly useful metric to analyze your attrition is the proportion of customers who purchase a single product and don’t come back. In a perfect world, every customer would be a returning customer. However, this isn’t always the case, and the experiences and data from one-time customers can be hugely valuable.
To maximize your return on investment with data analytics, look to combine general data that covers wide swaths of your customer base with specific cases. By using both kinds of data, you can understand and fix specific issues while also getting metrics that help you to continually evaluate your performance.
Valuable ways to model and stop attrition include social media sentiments and customer reviews. These data points are more specific and less generalized, so they may reflect more extreme viewpoints. People who didn’t have spectacularly good or spectacularly bad experiences are unlikely to make a social media post or review.
Segment Your Audience
One of the fundamental concepts in marketing is that what works for one customer might not work for another. Your audience of potential customers is not homogenous, even if they are all interested in the same product. Using the data you have from your existing customer base, you can stop guessing when marketing, helping to build your business.
Sometimes, different customers prefer different sales channels. Instagram Shopping might be the best channel for one audience, while another might rather use your website. Understanding and adapting to these customer preferences will give your business a competitive advantage.
Advertising and analytics platforms are some of the most useful ways to collect data that helps to segment your audience. In particular, platforms like Google and Facebook can tell you what kinds of customers you reach with different kinds of ads. They can also help you estimate the reach of your marketing efforts, allowing you to either access the largest possible audience or focus your efforts on high-value groups.
Geographic and cultural differences between customers may also influence how you advertise and promote your products. By analyzing the traffic that arrives at your website and the addresses of people who buy your products, you can get a good understanding of where your customers come from.
Most ecommerce businesses have products that are popular with specific audiences. For example, your company might have a low-end product that sells well in bulk to one group, while another segment prefers a high-end product but purchases less frequently. By analyzing the data already at your fingertips and comparing how customers purchase your products, you can more effectively target the right product to the right customer segment.
Meet Your Customers on Their Preferred Channels
Based on your analytics, sales, and marketing data, you might be able to infer what social networks and online channels your customers frequent. While hard data helps you optimize your business, the human element from talking directly to customers is irreplaceable.
Unlike many other forms of communication, social media is both direct and public. Replying to comments, videos, and posts with a message allows your business to interact directly with your customers. At the same time, this kind of communication represents your business to a very public audience of potential and existing customers.
On many social media platforms, customers will comment on new product announcements and other marketing. Online businesses that read and respond to these posts make their customers feel heard and gain access to lots of honest feedback. Whether customers do this on Twitter or TikTok, your business should be there to interact with them.
Find New Niches
Using on-site analytics or traffic analysis, look at unexpected geographic areas, keywords, or demographics that are driving sales. Ask yourself whether your business is doing an adequate job of servicing this unexpected customer base. Odds are, by analyzing this data, you uncovered a customer persona that you hadn’t seen before.
Many online stores sell customizable products. Try modifying both your products and your marketing to target demographics and audiences that you had not previously considered.
If your company sells multiple “levels” of a product (for example, a less expensive option and a more expensive option), look for customer opinions around these price points. Do customers wish that there were an option in between? Use your customer data to drive pricing strategy.
Figure Out Your Competition
While most data you have access to tells the story of your own business, you can infer a fair amount about your competition as well. Google searches, social media likes and comments, and simply browsing competitors’ websites are all good ways to learn more that can help your own business.
Particularly, you can see how effective your competitors’ SEO and social media tactics are. This can give you valuable insights to apply to your own marketing. Are your competitors particularly successful targeting a niche on social media that you hadn’t looked into before? Maybe consider marketing to this audience in the future.
Also note which of your competitors’ products seem to sell well. If you don’t have a direct equivalent to a best seller from a rival company, it might be a good idea to create one.
The Big Picture
The process to build a successful online business should not involve shooting in the dark. Online businesses have a few big advantages over brick and mortar establishments—among them, the ability to use various data sources to better understand and serve customers.
Traffic analysis, sales records, and marketing data are all useful sources of information to target customers. With the right analysis strategies, you can derive valuable insights about the people purchasing your goods and services.
About Bio: Thomas Odey is a professional writer who is very passionate about creating in depth, well researched & unique content. With vast years of experience, his skill set comprises: Web content writing, SEO Optimized Content, BlogPost Or Article Writing, and Product Related Content.