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How big data can help retailers capitalise on e-commerce growth

Earnings from the second quarter of 2015 indicated that e-commerce retailers are doing better than ever before. In fact, online sales are growing faster than store sales by 5 fold plus (opens in new tab).

To capitalise on this growth, retailers are making major investments in e-commerce to make shopping online as convenient and efficient as possible. E-commerce may be at an all-time high, but if retailers do not meet consumer demand for personalisation and intuitiveness, they’ll risk significant financial loss.

The most innovative retailers are partnering with data providers with expansive business and consumer databases to meet customer experience expectations. Given the increasing number of consumers shopping online across thousands of sites, it’s important for brands to stand out amongst the noise. Quality data can give marketers unique insights about key audiences so they can target with highly personalised digital marketing efforts and ultimately provide a more convenient shopping experience.

Consumers are so numb to branded marketing content that without a data-driven strategy that reaches the right audience at the right time, brands and retailers will risk losing out on revenue to competitors with more personalised and convenient paths to purchase. But with the right data strategy, brands can compete with major players within any given industry. Here are three ways big data can help brands continue to see success in a growing e-commerce space.


With quality data, retailers can break through the constant stream of online marketing messaging by understanding consumers’ unique wants and needs. This strengthens the relationship between the retailer and consumer and maximises the opportunity for sales.

Email marketing content should be tailored according to the customer’s recent purchases, or demographics. And the same goes for other digital advertising and even e-commerce sites themselves. Marketing content should always be unique to each customer’s history and likely interests, and the right data can make this happen.

As e-commerce becomes a part of everyday life for consumers, brands need to focus their efforts on partnerships with marketing tech providers that can turn data into actionable insights and allow for a deeper understanding of consumers and the tools to effectively engage them. Without these tools and insights it’s difficult for retailers to continue to gain steam among the large crowd of e-commerce players.

Go mobile

Quality data can also help brands improve mobile efforts. The value of mobile for marketing lies with its immediacy. Marketers can push highly personalised marketing content to consumers based on their current location. Time sensitive, location-based deals can encourage consumers to make purchases on the spot - a feat that tends to be difficult with generic marketing strategies.

However, consumers are hesitant to willingly provide personal information through mobile apps. A recent Forrester study (opens in new tab) found that only about a third of survey respondents are willing to share location and enable push notifications in retail apps, and many consumers aren’t sold on that technology’s value. Retailers need to partner with data providers that expand mobile reach and offer valuable data on where their customers are going on the Web, their purchasing behaviours and location-based information.

Additionally, retailers should know where are your audiences are spending most of their time on social media; is it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat or Pinterest? Ensure your social brand is engaging with your customers and prospects wherever they are.


Retailers can also use data to analyse which markets will be most successful for them to invest their time and resources. A retailer should use demographic and purchase history data about its key audiences to determine where to use advertising spend and promote deals most strategically. For example, marketing on Facebook might not be effective for younger shoppers today given the decreasing use of the site among younger age groups in recent years.

The best data will give brands the power to not only predict behaviours and act accordingly but also measure outcomes. Use A/B testing to determine the effectiveness of different email subject lines, sites for advertising or even the content included within marketing tactics. Make note of significant differences and alter strategies moving forward. Without the right data, it’s easy to waste money on advertising that is not reaching the right audience or lacks content that motivates shoppers to click through to an e-commerce site. And given the growth of e-commerce in recent months, it’s crucial that digital marketing efforts are as efficient as possible.

E-commerce earnings are increasing exponentially, but this doesn’t mean that retailers can coast. To be most successful in a market saturated with both brands and retailers, the best e-commerce sellers will invest in quality data to stand out among the competition.

Data can help brands reach customers with personalised messaging, improve mobile strategies and analyse the outcomes of different channels and strategies to allocate resources effectively.

Mike Iaccarino, Chairman and CEO of Infogroup (opens in new tab)

Image source: Shutterstock/Maxx-Studio