Business owners are constantly looking for ways to grow sales and improve business performance. Understanding who your customers are and analyzing their shopping behavior can tell you what’s working, what you need to do to keep your current customers coming back, and how to gain new ones. Your site visitors and customers provide you valuable information that can act as a treasurehouse of insights. These insights can help you discover areas to grow your business and increase profits.
Here are 7 ways to use customer data to boost sales for your online store:
#1. Improve Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who convert into buyers. It is a KPI (key performance indicator) used to understand the effectiveness of an e-commerce site. It’s important to know if your online store, site design, product catalog and other efforts are working out.
You can look at the web traffic data to identify which parts of your site are not converting, what changes need to be made to increase sales. You can also use find out if your past changes are helping you meet your goals. For example, if you started displaying Secure Payment seals (SSL, Credit Cards accepted) to improve payment completion on your site, you can track the conversion rate over time, to see if this change has increased your revenue.
#2. Monitor the impact of your promotions
Avoid blindly creating discounts, promotions and vouchers without looking at your customer data. You need to find out if your promotions are actually attracting customers to your site. Knowing which promotions work give you an idea of what you should do to repeat the success.
It’s also important to find out which channel is the most effective way of communicating your promotions. For example:
- Which e-mail campaigns bring in the most traffic to your site?
- What type of vouchers have the highest usage – a buy 1 get one free offer, or a 15% discount offer?
Social media, online ads, email marketing and more can all be used to test and refine your campaign strategy. It’s necessary to try out a variety of channels to market your promotions and track customer response before deciding to settle on one. This kind of analysis will help you quickly figure out the best place to market your promotions.
#3. Identify which products customers are buying
Which of your products are selling like hot cakes and which ones are getting ignored? Once you find out which products are popular, you can promote them more and increase sales faster. You can place these products at prominent locations such as your home page or show their images in online advertisements.
You can also try new ways to market the products that are less popular. If you still can’t get your customers to purchase these products, it might be a good idea to discontinue them. Such information tells you a great deal about customer interests & preferences. Knowing which products are popular allows you to streamline your inventory, focus more money & time on products that provide a better ROI, and increase sales.
#4. Find out when customers are buying
What if 70% of your customers shop on a weekday afternoon, will a weekend promotion be effective? It’s important to analyze the shopping times of your customers to find out when most of your customers are online. You need to know when your customers are making purchases and checking out. This will help you identify the days and times they shop online, when you can try different types of promotion. It can help you spot seasonal purchase trends too.
Based on your product and industry, you may see peaks during certain days of a month, or certain months of the year. It can even tell you what type of products are bought on what days of the week. With this information, you can better manage and promote your e-commerce site and boost sales.
#5. Measure the performance of email campaigns
Almost every study shows that email is the most preferred form of communication for ecommerce customers. Emails are a great way to inform customers about their order status, customer support issues, new products and promotional offers. It’s important to find out if they open/respond to your emails, else you won’t know if your emails are effective or not.
You can begin by looking at open rate, click rate and engagement for your emails. Tools like Mailchimp, Toutapp and Yesware are useful for this. It will provide a lot of useful information such as which kind of emails are opened the most, which ones get a response, what’s the best day/time to send each type of email, and which ones lead to a purchase.
Once you know the average values for these metrics, you can use them as a benchmark to refine your email marketing campaigns to maximize sales. Effective email strategy can persuade your customers to spread the word to friends and family, creating more traffic and revenue. Also, it will also turn one time buyers into loyal customers.
#6. Monitor Sources of Traffic
One of the most important data points to track is the source of traffic to your site.
- Where are your customers coming from?
- How did they find your site?
- Which of them are spending the most time on your site?
- Which type of visitors buy the most products on your site?
Tracking sources of traffic is a key to effective promotions. Knowing which site your customers visited before yours can tell you a lot about your customers. For example, if people are finding you on Google, it means they were specifically looking for your site, or a product you sell, or a site like yours. It also tells that your
Traffic Sources can also reveal sites you may have never heard of, but which can be a great place to promote your products. Analyzing traffic sources can tell you if your present marketing efforts are successful. It helps you quickly identify correlation between your marketing efforts and sales.
Once you market your products on a certain channel, look at the traffic from that source to find out if it is growing sales. If not, you can try other marketing strategies till you find the most effective traffic source for your business.
#7. Increase average order value
Average order value tells you how much each customer is spending on your site. It can not only reveal the spending habits of a customer but also provide a lot of important information. If you go beyond the cart value and look at what customers are buying, it can provide some interesting insights.
If many customers buy only one item, you can find out the complementary products or accessories that they can buy as well. Displaying complementary and related products, offering discounts for purchasing these combinations can lead to bigger shopping carts and more sales. You can effectively apply strategies like cross-selling, promoting related accessories and products and increase customer spending, once you understand customer behavior first.
To begin with, you can create a simple Ecommerce dashboard to regularly track key numbers and trends about your customers, and share them with your team. Reviewing it daily or weekly can show you how you are progressing towards your business goals, provide insights about customer behavior and help you measure your marketing efforts. As your business grows, you can keep adding more metrics to it.
Customer data contains a lot of useful information about user activity, customer profile, their likes and preferences, and spending behavior. Tracking it regularly can help you understand how your marketing efforts are performing; which products are doing well and can grow faster; which ones are not doing well and need more attention. This will allow you to spot growth opportunities and risks sooner, and respond quickly.
Images: “know your customer on tablet computer/Shutterstock.com“
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