Using Big Data to Increase eCommerce Sales

Big Data

Everyone’s been obsessed with using the phrase "big data" recently; you’ve probably heard it tossed around in meetings when people are to trying to come up with improvements to marketing strategies. It’s always the same message: you need to capture some of that magical stuff in order to maximize revenue. It’ll fix your marketing issues, improve the way you deliver your marketing messages, and make your business better. Well, that’s what it seems like, anyways, since people keep using the term “big data” without always understanding what it really means.

So what exactly is “big data"? Specifically, it refers to our capacity to discern from giant piles of information conclusions that are definite and actionable. "Big data" doesn't by default mean stockpiling every data fragment and poring over every detail you can find to try to discover small adjustments to make in your marketing strategy. On the contrary, it’s all about finding pertinent data that’s big enough to warrant immediate action to dramatically improve results as fast as possible.

Essentially, Big Data is a way of thinking about the information you already have. It is not exclusively owned by Harvard grads at giant companies with enormous analytics suites profits; while it’s pretty easy to process tons of data when you have nearly anything you need at your disposal, it isn’t so easy to use this kind of thinking without all those "extras" to generate results for the little guys.

The crucial aspect about big data is that it requires you to look at a few key variables that you know you both can easily alter and will have some sort of consequential impact. Think about it like this: if a retail store needed to think about ways to improve sales on a daily basis, it might run promotions constantly to try to get more people in. More likely, though, the manager would turn inwards to the staff and say, "let's work on our sales strategy to try to improve our performance -- what works for us when we talk to our customers, and what doesn’t?"

Critical self-evaluation is great for improving your marketing strategy, and that kind of thought process applies even to eCommerce businesses. However, most online stores don’t really try to properly assess why they’re not getting sales or where the holes are in their checkout process. More often than not, most of them don’t even have anything in place to help them analyze where or when they lose prospective customers. As a perfect example, the Baymard Institute released a study that declared that the average cart abandonment rate across eCommerce sites is 67.35%. Just to really drive the point home: that means, on average, a small eCommerce will see more than half of its customers leave behind things that they thought about purchasing!

Knowing why your customers aren't buying, what your cart abandonment rate is, and how much you could potentially make daily if all of your customers purchased the items in their abandoned carts is a simple, but significant, place to start trying to take big data and make it “small” and workable. In this case, an easy eCommerce solution is setting up basic abandoned cart emails. Just by doing this, stores can expect to see dramatic improvements in customer recapture and retention. Influxes in customer recapturing means influxes in profit; that’s big data turned into tangible results. 

Written by Dena Goldberg

Dena Goldberg's picture
eCommerce diva. Community Manager at Aidalicious, which is powered by AbandonAid. AbandonAid is a leader in Cart Abandonment and Analytics tools for Online Retailers. Follow her on Twitter @abandonaid for updates and musings.Follow me on: