The way E-commerce is conducted today and will continue to be conducted into the future is inextricably linked to big data implementation. Big Data allows businesses to reach customers on a never before seen scale and it allows businesses to provide customers with uniquely tailored experiences. The best businesses have shown us that success comes from responding quickly and effectively to customers’ desires and concerns, which is why the following aspects of big data’s effect on E-commerce are so important.
Big Data Improves the Customer Experience.
Consumers want the buying process to be a complete experience, not just an isolated moment. It’s one thing to provide the right product, but for companies to elevate themselves to the next level, they need to provide a full and individually-tailored experience from beginning to end.
Big data gives companies the tools to process and analyze the data necessary to discover how complete experiences can be provided. T Mobile, for example, uses behavioral analytics to determine which customers are most likely to want an upgrade in their service. Similarly, E-commerce sites can use clickstream and social data to monitor consumer behavior in order to find additional ways to add value to their products and services. Not only does a complete experience increase the probability of a purchase, it also affects the likelihood of repeat purchases. The best E-commerce companies provide customers with experiences that keeps them coming back for more.
Big Data Enhances and Systemizes Customer Service.
Another key to business success is dealing with customers’ concerns and complaints. At some point or another every company will encounter a less-than-pleased customer — no matter the product or service. It happens to the best. The difference between the good and the great is how those concerns are handled.
Big data can play a vital role in customer service. Whether customers contact companies via phone calls, chats, emails or tweets, companies can track these interactions and associate them with specific customers. Oftentimes customers will complain through multiple mediums, and companies need to be aware of this. Data technology can help companies produce quick and accurate responses for their customers which will greatly improve their customer satisfaction and retention.
Another area of customer service that will be improved by data technology is product tracking. Companies like UPS and FedEx (and even the USPS) provide tracking information for many products, but there is still room for improvement. Package tracking will soon change from daily estimates to minute-by-minute updates. Companies and consumers will constantly know the whereabouts of their packages and this will improve trust of and loyalty to the shipping companies.
Big Data Opens Opportunities for Personalization and Prediction.
Along the same lines of providing customers with a complete experience is providing them with the product they actually want. Advertisements can be very annoying, especially when they’re for things we really don’t care about. Targeted, individual marketing is infinitely more available through big data. If companies are smart about what information they gather and how they implement it, they can advertise to customers in ways that exponentially increase success rates. With big data, companies are creating custom landing pages based on the products the consumer had previously looked at on Pinterest or been talking about on Twitter.
Predictive analysis goes hand in hand with personalization. Gathering data gives companies the tools necessary to predict what customers want based on what they’ve looked at in the past. Amazon is an example of this with their product recommendations, but more and more customers will expect that kind of personalization from every site they go to. E-commerce sites will be well placed in the future if they start focusing on personalization and prediction through data.
Big Data Helps With Accurate Pricing.
If your price isn’t right, it doesn’t matter what your product is or how amazing your users’ experiences are, your company is going to fail. E-commerce is driven by price, and too many companies fail because of poor pricing. With real-time data monitoring, companies can control and regulate pricing like never before. It’s especially effective in E-commerce where prices can be changed all across the world at once.
Post-Scrypt: Small Businesses Can Use Big Data as Well.
With the emergence of numerous big data providers of Hadoop in the cloud, small businesses can enter the fray at increasingly cost-effective rates. Service in the cloud businesses eliminate the need for on-site infrastructure and IT maintenance. The cloud providers also store the data and protect it while still making it easily accessible to the business. Cloud storage is also scalable so companies can add as little or as much storage as they want at any time depending on their needs all while solely paying for the storage space that is currently being used.