While the term “data-backed” is not novel per se, it is becoming more and more integrated into core business offerings. Avex, a Shopify Plus and conversion rate optimization agency, uses the term data-backed because it is a core pillar of their philosophy and the way they envision the future. This blog will explore the importance of data in ecommerce, and how merchants can utilize different types of data to make better decisions for their businesses.
What is data analytics?
Data analytics is an influential tool in today’s business landscape that can be used to inform decisions and craft strategies. Across industries, organizations generate vast amounts of data which, in turn, should be thoroughly interpreted and carefully analyzed to identify challenges, find new opportunities, and refine existing game plans.
The importance of data in ecommerce
The only constant in ecommerce is change. And for an industry that changes at lightning speed, the importance of analyzing data is even more heightened. While the ultimate goal of online stores is increasing conversions, merchants need to work on supporting goals—such as better personalizing the shopping experiences, optimizing merchandising efforts, predicting and meeting trends, as well as advancing the ability to forecast demand.
Reviewing data is not a one-time activity nor is it a set-it-and-forget-it type of work; It is an ongoing process. By constantly reviewing data, ecommerce merchants can:
- Gain a better understanding of customer behavior: By reviewing data on customer purchases and browsing habits, merchants can get a better understanding of what their customers like and how they behave on their storefronts. This can in turn help tailor marketing efforts and improve the overall customer experience.
- Identifying trends quicker: Reviewing data can help identify trends in customer behavior, such as popular products or peak shopping times. This can help online businesses make informed decisions, such as stocking more of a popular item or running sales during slow periods.
- Improving site performance: By reviewing data on site performance, such as page load times and conversion rates, you can identify areas where your site may be underperforming and make improvements to enhance the user experience and increase sales.
- Detecting fraud: Data analysis can help you identify and prevent fraudulent activity on your site, such as fake reviews or suspicious account activity.
How to analyze data
For effective interpretation, merchants must first correctly segment their data and truly understand the correlations between each segment and the ultimate goal of increasing conversions. Below are four pillars merchants should focus on:
Descriptive is the interpretation of historical data to identify trends and patterns. In ecommerce, collecting behavioral user data, such as affinities, interests, demographics, past purchase data, and any other available user-centric information may have a significant, positive impact on user experience and business growth in general.
By doing so, merchants will be able to tailor unique experiences to each customer’s preferences. This enhances the purchase journey, speeds up time-to-purchase, and is likely to increase customer loyalty, which in return, increases conversion rates.
Today, browsers are making significant moves towards phasing out the support of third-party cookies in response to growing privacy concerns. While this directly impacts advertising as we know it, consumers still expect personalized experiences. As a result, ecommerce brands need to rethink ways to source zero-party data.
Diagnostic describes the interpretation of historical data to determine why something has happened. Is there a sudden drop in conversion rate on your website? Is the bounce rate on specific pages higher than others? Are customers spending time on a page without clicking?
Those are all scenarios that call for a diagnostic study of consumer behavior. By leveraging tools such as Hotjar, merchants can visualize the customer’s journey and understand what attracts their attention and what doesn’t. Merchants can, for example, come to the realization that the placement of their CTA button is what is causing the drop-off.
Predictive is the use of statistics to forecast future outcomes. Predictive data can be grouped into three categories: customers, products, and market data. Analyzing customers’ purchase and browsing history equips merchants with a solid understanding of what their customers are likely to buy, how they buy it, and the level of discount they are interested in.
Whereas, product performance data can be used to inform inventory management and pricing strategies. Lastly, market trend data provides valuable insights into the overall performance of the ecommerce industry or data on specific product categories, which can be used to predict future industry trends and inform long-term business strategy.
The application of testing and other techniques to determine which outcome will yield the best result in a given scenario is called prescriptive analytics. By running A/B tests on features, content, placement, and styling, merchants can ensure they’re delivering the most high-converting onsite experience for their customers.
Adopting a versatile approach on a storefront allows merchants to experiment with new experiences that can increase conversions, average order value (AOV), and customer lifetime value (LTV).
Making data-informed decisions
Overall, no matter what industry you are in, using quantitative methods to derive meaning from data is essential to growth. Luckily, we live in an era with an abundance of supporting tools and technologies. With the right growth team on your side, the sky is the limit.
Avex rapidly builds, optimizes, and tests high-converting digital experiences for ecommerce brands. They offer a strategic Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Program explicitly designed to optimize and scale ecommerce brands on Shopify and Shopify Plus. The “Growth X” Program features a unique process that is scalable yet customizable to meet your brand goals and exceed your expectations.
To learn more about how Avex leverages data to help brands grow in the online space, check out their website and get to know more about their optimization services.