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Using Big Data the Right Way can Turn a Search into a Purchase

Using Big Data the Right Way can Turn a Search into a Purchase

From brick and mortar to online retailers, we are all swimming in data. According to Baseline Magazine, 90 percent of the world’s data was created in just the past two years, and the majority of data generated – 900 exabytes of it – is generated by users. (An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes, by the way.)

Collecting and analyzing user data can be a good thing, if you know how to use it to create buyers from shoppers. But, like any organization that is trying to drink from this fire hose of data, it can be too much too fast.

A recent post about big data and retailers by Baynote’s Dan Darnell outlines ways that retailers are being “thrown off course” by thinking that more complex data is more valuable. He offers insight into how to keep out of the weeds and stay on course to turn your shoppers into repeat customers:

Detour 1: Embarking on the search for “true” meaning. According to Darnell, retailers are spending valuable time and resources looking for human understanding instead of correlation. A smart retailer will look for the search terms a shopper writes and connect them to the purchase, not worry about what the shopper “meant.”

Detour 2: Hoping (purchase) history repeats itself. Just because many of us own lawn mowers, doesn’t mean we are all in the landscaping business. A customer’s history doesn’t necessarily predict future purchases. It can be relevant, but only in relation to what the customer is looking for today.

Detour 3: Getting too social with sentiment. Automating a way to extract feelings from social posts is still nascent, so working too hard to understand your customer’s “feelings” can derail your efforts to get the purchase. Until sentiment analysis matures, according to Darnell, your best bet is to understand which brands are most popular with your customers.

Don’t let the flood of data drown your marketing efforts and get you off track. Check out Darnell’s article and Baynote’s “Data’s Role in the Online Path to Purchase” infographic here.