E-commerce – a force to reckon
E-commerce has taken the world of retail by storm and there are no signs of stopping as more and more brick & mortar companies are ‘’upgrading’’ themselvesby setting up their online stores even as a new breed of online only shopping sites have emerged to compete. A growing number of gen X and Y customers, mobile penetration, wider product choice, convenienta delivery options and pricing discounts are some factors that are fast changing the online retail landscape.
The E-commerce growth in US is a standing example of the rate of online retail expansion. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) report, online retail is poised to grow between 8%-12% and may end up between $427- $443 billion for the year 2017. That is about 3X the percentage growth of entire retail sector for the same year. The same report also provides an encouraging statistic for all online retailers – the number of online shoppers moved up by an additional 20 million (204 million in 2015) to 224 million shoppers for the year 2016.
Is it the time for online retail or e-commerce analytics?
Customer behavior on an ecommerce website is gives insights that go a long way in helping e-commerce solutions owners boost their sales.
Online shopping sites receive millions of customers who browse through several pages creating online behavioral patterns. Not all site visitors ‘check out’ or buy products leaving e-commerce owners to wonder as to what deterred customers from a purchase. These owners are left with many questions that range from why a visitor did not buy to how a visitor can be made to buy.
E-commerce analytics allow site owners to have a good idea on customer behavior, browsing and buying patterns, product offtakes, and inventory status among other relevant business insights. Increasing number of online shoppers and their shopping behaviorhave given rise to potential big data or e-commerce analytics opportunity to retailers.
So, what are the advantages of e-commerce analytics?
Reading buyer’s behavior: E-commerce analytics helpsellers or owners understand buyer behavioralong withbuyer movement on their ecommerce site. Whether a customer is checking a product or making aselection or finally making a purchase, the site owners can see all the activities with necessary insights. Analytics identify purchase patterns unique to each buyer, which help owners to map customers based on preference.
Analytics also help understand visitors’ movements and patterns on the site and can provide a possible understanding of why a visitor left site without a purchase. Customer behavioral patterns help site owners to create a more enticing and customer friendly shopping experience that could result in conversions.
Product range and promotion: Contrary to a brick & mortar store, an online store can host millions of products and their variants that are available to customers at the click of a button. Analytics based on customer browsing, choices and past purchases can help identify the right products and place them conveniently to prompt purchase.
Another advantage of analytics is the ability to place ‘’recommended products’’ for customer’s convenience and purchase. For example – placement of mobile accessories (based on past purchases and current trends) such as ear phones, screen guards, back covers as ‘’complimentary’’ or ‘’recommended’’ products in the check-out page helps mobile buyers opt for the required accessories without hassle while helping shop owners gain an additional sale.
Offers and customer retention: There is enough data generated through buyer patterns that analytics can help owners personalize offers/discounts for buyers. Through this, buyers are enticed to purchase products and in that process become regular or even loyal customers.
Analytics will also show if a particular offer or discount was indeed helpful in turning prospects into customers or if there is something more that needs to be done for achieving conversions.
Social Media integration and analysis: Social media analytics help online shop owners to understand tastes, preferences and inhibitions of both customers and potential customers. By integrating social media behavioral patterns shop owners can plan their product promotions or offers in a much more relevant manner so as to generate higher conversions and revenues.
Maintaining Supply chain and Logistics: Analytics help owners understand sales volumes, fluctuations in demand and delivery timings. This helps owners plan their supply chain product wise and also plan their logistics in a much more emphasized manner. An effective supply chain and logistics help streamline operations that result in cost reduction and business profitability.
In times to come, online shopping will grow in leaps and bounds as more and more people are getting comfortable shopping online. More online visitors mean more data generation which results in accumulation of huge amounts of data, in other words, there is too much clutter. E-commerce analytics help make sense of this clutter by segmenting this data and by providing business owners credible insights to take proper decisions that result in greater efficiency in business operations and higher profitability.