Practical Ecommerce

101 Ways to Use Data, for Ecommerce

Data can be extremely important to ecommerce merchants, as it helps them understand their customers better and generate more revenue. There are many ways a merchant can use data in its business. Here are 101 of them.

101 Ways Ecommerce Merchants Can Use Data

  1. Analyze traffic in real-time to determine the pages and products that are the most popular.
  2. Track success of promotions and tweak them (if required) by monitoring in real-time the promotion codes used.
  3. Conduct A/B testing on conversions and usability and get instant results.
  4. Provide more visibility to the customers by implementing real-time inventory checks.
  5. Adjust prices on the fly, and beat competitors’ by dynamically checking their prices.
  6. Introduce a new feature, like product videos, and monitor activity to determine if it is a hit with the shoppers.
  7. Implement personalization on the site, to target shoppers for higher conversions.
  8. Enable event-driven offers by tracking customers and their activity.
  9. Support not just text search but also image search by implementing image-likeness in real-time.
  10. Monitor customer search activity on the site and offer assistance if they are having difficulty in finding the product.
  11. Implement natural language search — i.e., spoken words — to allow customers to find the products they are looking for.
  12. Use attributes across different products to auto filter search results.
  13. Experiment with product assortments based on analyzing regional and customer preferences.
  14. Recommend products based on a customer’s history, current browsing session, and top selling products.
  15. Notify customers if a product in their cart is about to go out-of-stock or an active promotion is about to expire or get launched.
  16. Show the shipping time and available quantity for a product in the shopping cart to improve conversions.
  17. Identify the best customers and create a better experience for them compared to others.
  18. Alert customers if item(s) in their wish lists are on sale.
  19. If a shopper logs in with a Facebook ID, use his likes on Facebook to drive product recommendations on the ecommerce site.
  20. Enable omnichannel integration by supporting the same pricing, promotions, and product inventory regardless of the channel.
  21. Personalize promotional emails for each customer, versus sending the same blanket email to everyone.
  22. Use pattern analysis tools to identify unhappy product reviewers.
  23. Expedite customer service by pre-aggregating customer information from multiple systems and maintaining it in-memory.
  24. Set up a process to make every customer service resolution available in the searchable knowledge base.
  25. Improve customer service by analyzing recorded voice calls and customer emails.
  26. Provide order status details to customers, to avoid unnecessary calls to customer service staff.
  27. Conduct sentiment analysis on social network feeds, to take quick action on issues.
  28. Monitor frequency of calls from shoppers, time to resolve an issue, and products with most issues — to improve service.
  29. Review orders in real-time to detect unusual ordering activity.
  30. Set up automated processes to identify fraud and learn new patterns of fraud.
  31. Automate PCI compliance to avoid credit card fraud issues.
  32. Ship orders faster by mapping ordered items into pick locations in the warehouse.
  33. Automate picking process as much as possible by using RFID tags for pallets or individual products.
  34. Set up thresholds to replenish inventory in the warehouse. These thresholds will vary based on product, season, and region.
  35. Automate product pricing based on desired margins and the cost to procure or manufacture — to be more efficient.
  36. Forecast the new products that will be successful by analyzing the current ordering trends.
  37. Use algorithms to analyze order ship-to addresses to reduce overall shipping costs.
  38. Show actual shipping costs to customers by conducting real-time calculations before the customer completes the purchase.
  39. Track shipments in real-time, including stoppages, to minimize losses.
  40. Display all tax and duty costs when shipping internationally.
  41. Integrate with the shipping provider to display actual delivery date.
  42. Clearly display order status to allow the customer to make order changes before items are shipped.
  43. Ensure each product has a field for calculating the cost for return processing. Oftentimes, sending the replacement without processing the return is less expensive.
  44. Analyze returns to improve product quality and the customer experience.
  45. Review return trends by customer and by product to identify fraud, product quality, and other issues.
  46. Implement checklists for each returned item prior to making it available for sale again.
  47. Utilize dashboards to get real-time insights into sales, product inventory, number of customers, and so on.
  48. Automatically track key performance indicators for each new feature, such as product videos.
  49. Monitor shoppers’ browsers to ensure universal compatibility with your ecommerce site.
  50. Automate checks for site accessibility, broken links, and redirects.
  51. Notify a registered user based on any suspicious login activity seen on the site, such as a login from different computers within a short period of time, and random clicks that do not align with the browsing history.
  52. Maintain and update your ecommerce site to keep each page size below a threshold, such as 100KB.
  53. Create real-time alerts for site performance issues.
  54. Notify customers as soon as possible for system outages.
  55. Monitor and define workarounds with a third-party for all customer communications, to avoid communication failures.
  56. Identify periods of low activity before taking down the site for maintenance; provide a workaround to place orders.
  57. If your site has international customers, support regional metrics and sizes.
  58. Build a customer community to share ideas and promote products.
  59. Determine shopper’s device (i.e., desktop or mobile) and target with relevant products.
  60. Reward loyalty, even without a loyalty program, by offering special personalized incentives to customers.
  61. Honor customer opt-outs and unsubscribes. Never spam customers.
  62. Analyze abandoned carts to determine the reasons.
  63. Use unique selling propositions while writing copy for the site. This applies to every page and also helps with search engine optimization.
  64. Utilize historic data and predictive modeling techniques to estimate year-over-year growth.
  65. Analyze a supplier’s performance by reviewing its activity, such as product delivery and packaging.
  66. Model how to scale your business and which areas are inefficient.
  67. To generate traffic, write guest posts on popular sites like LinkedIn and monitor traffic from each post.
  68. Collaborate with other small businesses and measure which ones are helping the business to grow.
  69. Track and tweak site usability with every new operating system, browser, and device release.
  70. Research the local market and its competitors before investing in localizing the site for a specific region.
  71. Identify popular regional payment methods and localize the site to support them for customers from that region.
  72. Run periodic customer surveys to continuously improve the site.
  73. Review referrer sites to identify where customers are coming from. This often identifies top competitors.
  74. Send notifications to customers to inform them of new product introductions based on their interests and preferences.
  75. Run real-time analysis to manage return on investment for each product and each customer. This can also be automated.
  76. If products have variable pricing, share pricing history and trends with customers, to help them determine the best time to buy.
  77. Run real-time credit checks to approve financing for customers for purchase of big-ticket items.
  78. Build a relationship with your customers by engaging them with your business via blogs, social network posts, raffles, and promotions.
  79. Analyze customer order history to send reminders. A customer who orders something on a certain day and ships it to a different address is probably purchasing a gift; an annual reminder might help.
  80. Automate dispute resolution by analyzing customer history and the reasons for a charge back.
  81. Provide extended return and exchange windows for loyal customers with valid reasons.
  82. Continuously monitor features and sections of the site that are not being used and remove them to optimize the site.
  83. Extend a product’s manufacturing capability by allowing customers to request customized products.
  84. Get inputs from customers and suppliers to improve the site, such as updates to a product description.
  85. Segment products to offer different items to different regions and to different groups of customers.
  86. Allow customers to search their order history, and reorder.
  87. Suggest replacements or substitutes for products that have been discontinued.
  88. Give incentives to customers to share their stories about a product’s performance months or years after purchase.
  89. Suggest gifts for customers by correlating data from multiple sources like social networks, wish lists, gift registries, purchase history, and gift recipient.
  90. Integrate data across all channels — web, mobile, brick-and-mortar — for a complete view of the business and its customers.
  91. Deploy sensors in big-ticket items to enable predictive maintenance by monitoring the device in real-time.
  92. Use sensors to improve products by tracking how customers use them. This requires an opt-in.
  93. Void warranties on big ticket and specialized items as necessary by monitoring sensor data in real time.
  94. Reward employees by real-time tracking of performance or customer service goals.
  95. Enable personalized, guided selling to make the purchase process faster.
  96. Automate supplier payments and receivables to minimize manual work and improve efficiency.
  97. Break down annual goals into smaller daily or weekly goals to create a sense of achievement.
  98. Anticipate peak load and the need for scaling by studying site patterns.
  99. Build operating models that are continuously updated for different regions to comply with local laws and customs.
  100. Work with customers on charitable causes, like reducing waste, going green, and helping youth.
  101. Continuously optimize business operations to deploy new ways to use data, to grow.
Gagan Mehra

Gagan Mehra

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. jake November 28, 2014 Reply

    Wow! Such a long, common-sense, list.

    Don’t insult your readership w/ junk like this!


  2. Elizabeth Ball November 28, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Gagan, I think there are some real gems in here.
    I’d also add websites use cookies or tracking data to make sure you don’t use irritating pop-ups to invite existing customers to sign up for your newsletter when they already receive it.

  3. Apptive December 1, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jake…we would add that it’s helpful to know data from push notifications (if you have a mobile app). This can tell you if your customers respond on mobile devices better than email marketing or other forms of marketing. In most cases, push notifications have a higher open rate of 19.5 percent than email marketing which hovers around 3-5 percent. Thanks again!

  4. Sigmainfo December 15, 2014 Reply

    The usage of Data in Ecommerce is very well estimated within these 101 factors but there are endless factors. People in internet marketing would be well known that without good data nothing is possible in ecommerce.