Small eCommerce, Big Data

Posted by Taylor Haney on Fri, Nov 14, 2014

Continuing on with our eCommerce theme this month we have a post by Anna Carver, Director of Account Management at Ve Interactive. Anna discusses the relevance of data to all different types of eCommerce businesses. 

Anna CarverAnna Carver is the Director of Account Management at Ve Interactive, a multi-award winning global technology company, driving online performance to maximize conversions. Anna is responsible for leading the North American Account Management team in building strong client relations, improving client’s online optimizations with detailed reporting and presenting digital marketing expertise.  Prior to Ve Interactive, Anna held various operations roles for eCommerce retail businesses. Anna is a graduate of Boston University, but Iowa born. She is an active runner and a true foodie.  Follow Ve Interactive @VeUnitedStates; follow Anna on Linkedin; follow Anna on Twitter @tinyendorphins

“Big data” might not be for you. As one of the current buzzwords in tech, you may feel pressured to integrate it into your current eCommerce strategy. Yet remembering the internet itself is one plot of big data, “big data” has potential relevancy for everyone—or the potential to get in over your head. Before joining the big data lemmings, there are a few points to consider before jumping off that cliff.

Strategies for large companies don’t always apply to small and mid-sized businesses.

One company can use big data to become more efficient, yet for another it could be little more than a spreadsheet headache. Make sure you know what problem you are trying to solve with the data and whether or not you have the resources to use it to make impactful changes.

UPS recently installed 46,000 sensors on vehicles to track metrics such as speed and direction. They used this data to make their routes more efficient, saving millions of dollars on fuel. This is an effective use of big data. But remember, large companies often have extremely organized processes and structures that don’t exist in small to mid-sized businesses. They have the means to hire expensive analysts to dig through the data. Gathering it isn’t enough. You need savvy people to help you make sense of it.

Use relevant big data from large companies, but always know the full story.

Google Trends is a vast (and free) resource for people’s search queries on Google or what they have searched for in the past. This is a great way to access topics that you may want to use in social media or other eCommerce marketing pushes.

However, small bits of information taken out of context could hurt you. For example, Ray Rice is currently the most searched NFL player on Google. If you are running a sports apparel eCommerce site, does that mean you should start increasing your stock and promoting Rice jerseys more? Probably not.

Ask yourself— is there an easier way to get where you want to go?

You’re a women’s clothing eCommerce retailer and you want to find out if a dollar discount performs better or worse than a percentage discount. Rather than aimlessly searching amongst the mass of big data, some of which may not even be relevant to your customer demographic, try something simpler. Easy, traditional digital marketing initiatives such as A/B tests or sending out questionnaires still work.

Simple data points can go a long way. If you knew where to look for customers who are abandoning your website, whether it be the product page or the checkout page or somewhere in between, you can be agile in your marketing efforts to keep them engaged. Simple technologies can make this happen – no team of data analysts required. For businesses with limited time and resources, sometimes it’s better to stick to the basics.

Managing and growing any eCommerce business is about weighing all your options to get where you want to go, deciding what is easiest to implement, and determining what will have the greatest impact at that time. As our options for technologies that allow us to track data grows, focusing on why we are using the data and making sure there are real reasons for it will grow more and more important.