Making the most of data in online retail
Luminati Networks

Member Article

Data Insights Crucial For Retailers – Both Big & Small

By Or Lenchner, CEO of Luminati Networks

It’s been 25 years since Amazon and eBay started to sell products online and began the digital transformation of the retail space. Despite already being well established for many years, e-commerce experienced a massive boost in 2020 after the global lockdown resulted in typically reluctant consumer demographics moving online. As physical retail outlets closed their doors, the online marketplace kept booming. The ability to continue operating in these difficult circumstances has been essential in keeping businesses afloat. However, as lockdowns ease, there are further opportunities to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Increased online activity means retailers can benefit from the data that this generates. In addition to internal data sources, retailers can also access external online data insights that can impact company strategy and direction. Traditional sources of data used by the retail industry, such as annual or quarterly reports drafted by consultancies or analyst firms, are no longer a perfect fit for the fast-paced modern age. This is because such reports can take weeks or even months to finalize. As a result, they often don’t provide a fully up-to-date picture of the current retail market. Therefore, in today’s unprecedented times, modern retailers need frequent streams of relevant data that project a live snapshot of the market reality. When market moves are as unpredictable as they are today, gaining frequent and fast access to data insights provides a huge advantage to any online retail operator.

When analysing the importance of data, businesses must look at the advantage it can provide. E-commerce companies seeking to make intelligent pricing decisions based on their competition, for example, base these decisions on pricing-focused online data. Therefore, leveraging an automated online data collection allows them to see what their competitors are charging to date, for say, a pair of black jeans. Then, they can optimize the price they charge based on this data – therefore ensuring they keep their prices attractive and, consequently, their consumer-base loyal to their brand. Another example is testing a new product or offer. Public social media reviews as well as product reviews can provide e-commerce brands with a quick measurement of how successful the offer/product is among their consumer base.

Online data collection can also help e-commerce businesses stock the right products. Such data is based on openly available insights taken from across the web, including from social media channels. By seeing what is selling out, businesses gain more insight that allows them to stock goods in the right quantities.

As a whole, data collection encourages healthy market competition. As we all know, competition is a good thing for both businesses and consumers. Competition drives businesses to continue to optimize their offers for their consumers, who enjoy better prices as well as better products and deals.

For large retailers, and those born online, online data is the lifeblood of their businesses. However, retailers of all sizes can benefit from this as well. Many will have expansive data collection processes and teams dedicated to delivering these insights. However, smaller retailers and those moving online shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that online data collection is just for the bigger players. All retailers can benefit from actionable data insights – and there’s never been a better time to get started. The earlier the better.

My advice to businesses that are unsure as to whether now is the right time to get started is to start small, with very focused and defined data requirements. In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, every decision counts and you cannot afford to get it wrong. Data enables retailers to reach the correct decision fast. There is also no obligation to invest heavily in online data collection; retailers just need to focus on the online data that matters to them the most and start the process. They can also turn to automated data collection solutions. This option means having the data collected on their behalf, which provides all of the benefits but with less work, less workforce effort as well as (typically) less cost.

The year 2020 will be remembered for having truly shaken the retail landscape like we’ve never seen before. While no business can precisely predict the future, you can come very closely to doing so. Gaining access to relevant live data insights means you are prepared for every possible scenario, development, or market move – even the most unexpected ones. And being prepared, anticipating changes, and taking suitable action are the first vital steps in improving your chances for overall success.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Luminati Networks .

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