Use internal data for new products, new customers

An e-commerce company's internal data - website search queries, customer feedback, geographic concentration, more - can identify opportunities for new products and new customers.

An e-commerce company's internal data – website search queries, customer feedback, geographical concentration and more – can identify opportunities for new products and new customers.

E-commerce merchants miss opportunities by not using their data. New products, new customers, upsells, cross-sells – internal data can provide insight into all of them.

In this post, I will address data sources and strategies to help merchants grow their business.

New Products

Sidsök is the goldmine for all online stores: actual visitors looking for a specific product or category. For example, if several consumers searched for "orange vase" and you didn't carry that item, you might want to source it.

An obstacle to analyzing site search queries is the large volume of many e-commerce sites. To overcome, consider classifying the search terms into product types and descriptions. For example, by using the content query, "orange vase" can be classified as "product type = vase" and "color = orange."

Another way to reduce volume is to filter successful searches, those that resulted in accurate products or with the searcher making a purchase. You can also exclude fake search terms like URLs, which often come from bots.

Combining keywords can also help identify trends. Several searches for "orange vase", "orange decor" and "orange accent" may indicate a possible cross-selling opportunity around the color orange or even a new category.

For advanced retailers, machine learning such as text wrapping can reveal gaps in product offerings. Smaller traders were able to manually review and classify the information each week, perhaps with the help of an intern.

Filter. Filter analyzes, if available, may reveal possibilities. If buyers repeatedly select the same filter for a product – such as color, size and type – and do not get any search results, a merchant may consider adding that item. Maybe the original search term is "orange vase" and the filters are "handmade" and "large." If that combination does not produce any search results, the merchant can add large, handmade, orange vases to his warehouse.

Customer comments. Monitor customer reviews, feedback to your support staff and discussions on social media. You will probably find ideas for new products. For example, a customer might post on Instagram, "Just got this sweet purple top from the XYZ store. Wish it came in green." If enough customers have published similar requests, consider adding the item in green.

The problem with customer feedback on different channels is, like website search, the volume. It often requires staff who monitor social media and even machine learning to identify broad opportunities and not isolated requests from, for example, a single consumer. One solution is to look for general trends. Spending 30 minutes a week reading reviews or posts on social media can usually be enough to gauge market sentiment.

new customers

Internal data can also help e-commerce companies attract new customers. Consider the following strategies.

Geography. Eighty percent of your customers may reside in a particular state, region or country. But Merchants 2020 can sell and ship globally. One way to identify customer acquisition strategies is to look at your website traffic to identify sites that provide traffic but have few sales. You can test these regions – perhaps in local marketplaces – to monitor demand, to determine if it is worth locating your e-commerce site for these consumers.

Demography. Demographic and even psychographic data (opinions, attitudes) are available in Google Analytics or by adding customer names and addressing specific information from providers like Experian or Melissa. The process can identify promising age groups, gender, educational level and so on.

For example, a retailer of sports items may find that most tennis racket buyers are women aged 35 to 55 who own their homes. Armed with that insight, the retailer was able to target women in that age group and home ownership. (The reseller can also use the information to cross-sell complementary products to existing customers.)

Marketing channels. New marketing channels can also attract customers. A merchant who has relied on Google Ads can test influencers on Instagram or even direct physical mail. The test was able to reveal not only new customers but also more effective marketing expenses. To discover the new channels, look for third-party benchmarking per channel at cost per acquisition for your product type or demographics.

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