There’s no reason to be afraid of the “big” in big data. Big data refers to voluminous data sets that have the potential to be mined for information. It can include information on everything from point of sales tracking and inventory management to website analytics and social media engagement.
Regardless of the size of your company, you can use big data to learn more about your customers and grow your business. Businesses can analyze and apply that information to predict market trends, enhance existing products, create new service offerings or produce a better customer experience.
Here are four ways to use big data to grow your small business:
Manage Customer Feedback
Big data can help to create an excellent customer experience. Use your data to identify when complaints or negative outcomes occur.
Examine your information to review returns or refunds, customer complaints or other negative feedback. Try to find a common element between each of these events. If you can detect a pattern for negative events, you can pinpoint the problem at its source and take steps to rectify it.
Conversely, you can also use big data to identify your best customers. Which customers are making repeat purchases? Who are your high-value customers or your highly satisfied customers? Can you find a correlating factor between these customers?
You can use this information to create a profile of your ideal customer and then deploy targeted sales forces to that customer as well as others who are much like them. Once you identify these best customers, you can also take steps to engage them further and deepen their loyalty to your company.
Identify Sales Trends
Big data can help you to gain insight into buying behaviors. Use your data to analyze sales trends. Some important factors to consider are:
- What is the size of your average sale?
- Does the average size go up or down at certain times?
- What days, weeks or months of the year do you make the most sales?
- What days, weeks or months are the slowest for sales?
- How many sales involve discounts or promotions versus full price purchases?
This information can help you plan for seasonal fluctuation in sales and better manage your cash flow. You can also focus the efforts of your sales team more effectively if you know which products or services are selling at which times.
Streamline Marketing Efforts
Big data can tell you about your customers’ buying habits. Do they make their purchasing decisions based upon email, direct mail, newspaper or TV advertising?
Keep track of your customers and when and how they choose to shop. Use your information to pitch your product at the right time and place and to the right customer. You can pinpoint areas in the sales cycle for focusing your marketing efforts and create a communication strategy for relevant and timely points in time.
Maximize Online Presence and Social Media
Big data can help you to create web content that will draw more visitors. Keep track of the open rates for your current sales initiatives. Monitoring this information can help you craft your messages and plan the best time(s) to send them.
- Which days are your emails opened the most frequently?
- In social media, what types of posts on your Facebook page receive the most likes or comments?
- Which posts receive the best feedback: text, images or video?
- How do customers react to your online presence? Are they commenting on a certain product?
- Do they have questions that can be addressed?
- Do customers purchase on your website or come to your store with a coupon?