When dealing with customers, you might think the most important thing is to get out of them is their money. As long as you have the basic details to complete the sale, like what products they want, where they want the items delivering and how they want to pay, you can carry out almost any transaction online. While this information is vital to the business’s day-to-day working, it’s also important to collect other types of data from your customers, and even future potential customers, to help increase your business. Every single click a customer completes on your website can provide vital information to help you develop future products and promotions. The only problem is knowing exactly what to do with such a vast amount of data. With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can use that data to increase sales.
Predict the behavior of your customers
What many people don’t realize when they walk into a store is how long it takes to develop each product. Whilst they might be advertised as new, it’s probably taken a year or even longer for someone to approve the original design, create a prototype, and then be able to manufacture it on mass. In fact, it’s highly likely that manufacturers are already working for next year’s Christmas range before they’ve even celebrated this year’s Christmas. The only problem is a year is a long time when it comes to retail. What may have seemed like a good idea for a popular product this time last year could turn out to be dated or untrendy when it makes it onto the shelves of a store or the store’s website.
Although it’s impossible to predict the future, it is possible to use data to try and predict the behavior of your customers. To do this effectively, more and more businesses are employing data analysts to try and spot trends. By looking at everything your customers have done in the past, like what products they’ve bought, viewed, or even put into their online basket but decided not to purchase, these analysts can predict what they’re likely to want to purchase in the future. You can then design your products around these desires and qualities and be confident that they will sell well once they are finally put on sale for the first time.
No matter what industry you’re in, you can predict a lot from your customer’s data. There are many examples in this article about how different sets of data can help different industries. For example, you might think that as restaurants deal with fresh produce, they’d be able to react quickly to any increase or decrease in demand. The reality is that if a dish on the menu doesn’t sell well, they could be forced to throw out lots of expensive produce. On the opposite end of the scale, if they underestimate the demand for a new meal, they could be forced to take it off the menu for days if they run out of the ingredients to make it. Data analysts can help you make sure you have just the right amount of fresh produce in your kitchen at all times.
Don’t lose touch
As well as being able to predict trends in the future, it’s also important to collect data so you can stay in touch with any customers. If you’re an online retailer, you probably know how hard it is to attract new people to visit your store. You might have to take out a paid advertisement or offer incentives to other customers to persuade their friends to visit their store, all of which can eat into your profit margins. That’s why it’s important not to waste all of that money you’ve spent on persuading a customer to visit your site. By asking them to submit their email address, you can work on persuading that one-time customer into a regular customer. Simply ask for a customer’s email address when they complete an order.
More often than not, customers will be perfectly happy to provide this information as they’ll want an order confirmation email and receive updates when their product has been dispatched. When they enter this information, ask them whether you can use this email address to contact them with offers in the future. If they say yes, you can tempt them back onto your website by sending them newsletters showcasing your latest products or promotions. Even if they don’t make a purchase on your website, you could tempt them to join your newsletter by offering to send them a discount code they can use on any purchase they make with you in the future.
Make sure you have permission to store the data
Although storing personal data can be a real benefit to your business, it’s important that you only store information that you have gained permission to hold. If you use these contact details for any other purpose than the customer gave you permission for, you could be in serious trouble and could be forced to pay a big fine. For example, if you take contact details provided to send updates on an order and use these details to send promotional materials in the future, you could be breaking the law in certain countries.
As well as gaining permission, it’s also important that you store this information securely. If a hacker is able to gain access to this information from your system, you could be facing an even bigger fine. It can also cause a lot of bad publicity and make customers lose trust in your brand. For example, when hackers gained access to an estimated 3 billion Yahoo accounts in 2016, they weren’t only faced with a massive fine to pay. Still, many customers also shut down their accounts and set up new email addresses with different brands. A small investment in online security can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.