E-commerce distributors can use analytics to their advantage, but it takes a deliberate approach to be successful.
The data you collect should be used to support your operations. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting time collecting information. Start by asking these two questions: What are you trying to accomplish? What data will help you to achieve that goal?
With those questions in mind, here are three key steps distributors should take to better capture data and get the most out of e-commerce analytics.
- Have a plan: You need to determine what data is important. What information about customers will allow you to segment your market or sell to customers more efficiently? The type of data you collect is going to depend on your specific strategy. If you want to segment your market so you can push specific products, for instance, then you’ll want gather data on market segmentation.
Make sure to only collect data that’s truly necessary. Many organizations compile more information than they truly need, and much of it ends up being useless. For example, don’t gather customer birthdates unless you intend to use that information. Having too much data is almost as much of a problem as not having enough. Plan a strategy and execute it by gathering and using the information you need.
- Use every customer touch point as an opportunity to gather information: This step is especially relevant to customer service. If you reach out to a customer or a customer calls you, that’s an opportunity to gather information. Whether it is email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers or information about their business, every customer interaction presents a chance to collect valuable data.
- Incentivize customers to provide the information you need: One way to accomplish this is by offering something that’s low in cost (or free) but high in value. As an example, consider providing access to your whitepapers with relevant industry data in exchange for a potential customer’s email address and phone number. Most prospects and customers don’t mind providing information if they receive something valuable in return. In that sense, it’s a win-win for both parties.
When it comes to e-commerce analytics, dashboards play a critical role in gaining a real-time view of your data. You’re able to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics in one place, which is vital to keeping tabs on information.
Role-based dashboards in particular provide a great way to tap into data. Most employees only need to see the data that’s relevant to their job. If you’re the receiving manager, for example, you don’t need to see the general ledger or financial information. A salesperson, on the other hand, would want detailed data about customer transactions.
In the end, where distributors can get the most out of e-commerce analytics depends largely on their priorities and strategies. Analytics is most often helpful in segmentation for marketing and upselling to customers, along with customer satisfaction and retention efforts.
To take advantage of analytics, start by determining your top business priorities. Once you have a plan in place, collect the relevant data that will help you get where you want to go, remembering to take advantage of every customer interaction for gathering information.