The business world is awash with data, and that data is gold for your business. Everything from what customers are spending online to what they’re browsing, where they live and so much more can help you offer what they want and when they want it – and that means sales. The marketing gurus are calling this Big Data, and the good news is it’s not just for big corporations with mega budgets.
Using software to analyse the wealth of data out there, you’ll be able to harness the power of your customers’ shopping habits to make your small or medium-sized business as profitable as possible. And what’s more, it’s available at minimal or no cost. Here we look at seven of the best software solutions for turning stats into sales.
The best place to start with big data is with a resource that you already have: your website. Google Analytics takes the data produced by your site, including things like the number of visitors to it, and tells you exactly what you need to know.
These insights include where people are coming from, how long they stay on your site, and what they spend most of their time looking at. In other words, it shows you how people engage with your online product.
By using Google Analytics, which is free, you can make decisions about where to best put your web resources, and how to tweak existing content to ensure visitors have the best experience online and will want to come back for more.
Google Analytics also distinguishes between visitors coming from the web or mobile (and mobile is where the growth is) and analyses the percentage of visitors using social media. It means perfect data for tweaking your company’s social media campaigns. It’s easy to use too – get started with this great Google Analytics video tutorial.
IBM Watson Analytics
Computing giant IBM is building on its vast experience with supercomputing and artificial intelligence to deliver big data solutions for business that can be used by all parts of an organisation. This includes IT, marketing, human resources and all the other key components of a business.
The advantage of IBM Watson Analytics , which is currently in a beta release, is that it frees you from having to understand deep mathematics and analytics procedures – Watson does all the hard sums for you. It also enables you to deliver presentations of your findings with simple, great-looking graphs, charts and other visual materials.
IBM Watson Analytics is expected to have a cost associated with it when it goes mainstream, but it’s currently available for anyone to have a go and use as they see fit.
As a carrot for smaller businesses, Canopy Labs offers a free trial for companies with less than 5000 customers and charges upwards of US$250 per month for those with larger numbers.
Where Canopy Labs comes into its own is in the customer relationship management (CRM) space. But it’s not just another CRM package. Instead, it allows you to take current customer data, including how customers interact with your business, and charts their future behaviour. In other words, it’s an electronic crystal ball that lets you delve into future customer trends and habits.
It also offers a 360-degree view of a customer, including their loyalty, how often they shop with your company and other metrics. This gives your company the data it needs to grow a profitable relationship with those offering the highest value to your organisation.
This clever box of tricks acts like the glue between all the applications you might already use to track customer behaviour and business trends. InsightSquared includes business tools such as Google Analytics , Zendesk and Salesforce.com . It takes all the data generated by these and provides projections and data that can be used to take your business further and maximise your profits.
If used for CRM, for example, InsightSquared can provide lead generation, lead forecasting, profitability analysis and profit forecasting – all from a single, easy-to-use interface.
The price for all of this? US$65 per user per month.
What happens if you have a small business and you’re not sure if you have the data feeds needed to become a big data business? This is where Qualtrics comes into play. It allows a small business to act like a big business by undertaking surveys and studies to gain insights into its customer base.
There are three types of surveys used by Qualtrics. First, customer interaction surveys give you a heads-up on how customers are behaving, why they are doing what they do on your website, and how happy they are with your services.
The second type looks at the market and analyses how successful your advertising, concepts and market research are. The third examines how happy your employees are in real-time. Find out if you should be throwing them a bigger summer party…
Get to know your customers where it really counts: how exactly they’re spending their money. Tranzlogic takes the deep information and data embedded in credit card transactions and makes it available to small and medium-sized organisations.
By using the Tranzlogic sales portal (no additional software is required) you can gain an insight into sales performance, identify your best customers and where exactly to find them to give your marketing efforts a big data-fuelled boost.
Optus Mobile Business Intelligence
Sitting in front of a desktop screen analysing data is one thing. But the overall trend in the market today is towards mobility: taking big data insights on the road with you.
This is where Optus Mobile Business Intelligence comes to the fore. It supports a wide array of databases and data repositories to allow information to be analysed on the go.
Optus has also invested heavily in ensuring the data presented is perfect for the mobile device, regardless of whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet – both of which are the go-to choices for the mobile professional.
With the world of business always on the move, developments in any given market come thick and fast. Using these tools, you’ll be able to plunder the big data your customers are leaving in their wake every day so that your business isn’t left behind.