Many believe that the main benefit of eCommerce businesses is that they do not require brick and mortar stores, they can therefore keep their operating overheads considerably lower than traditional retailers.
However, I would argue that the biggest benefit they have is the ability to easily track and analyze what their customers are doing and what they may want in the future. This is also combined with a greater knowledge of where people came from initially before buying something from them.
This kind of data is vital for those working in eCommerce during the holidays. This is because it offers insight into popularity amongst the early adopters (those who buy earlier before the rush) and adapt their orders and stock for this reason.
As this is the most profitable time of the year for retailers it is also the time to work out the most successful advertising for their products and stores. If a certain campaign or platform has worked well for them throughout the year, then the chances are high that this will also be effective at this time of year.
Using data from previous entries will help to discover where people have been coming from previously and investments can be made in these platforms to increase traffic. Equally, historical data can be useful when looking at where people have historically entered your site during the holidays in previous years.
The reason that this kind of historical data is important during this time of the year is not only for accuracy, but because shopping habits for the rest of the year are often based on wants, needs and interests. During Christmas, the shopping habits of people are reversed, so they aren’t looking at what they want for themselves, but instead what they want for those who may be interested in your products.
This can equate to the targeted demographics shifting and the reason for people coming to your site changing dramatically. Historical data will help you to pinpoint how these people found you in previous years and can help you again in identifying where to find your additional audience at this time of year .
Equally, data from social media is going to be important for predicting what stock is likely to be popular during the Christmas period. The opportunities to use sentiment analysis and keyword analysis will allow an e-commerce company to evaluate popularity and order stock well in advance whilst minimising the risk of reduced demand.
Christmas is often the most important time of the year for retailers, data is has been shown to help them maximize the opportunities that reveal themselves.