Small Business and Big Data: An Introduction

Small businesses may not be making the most out of the information at their disposal. Inc.compublished a report highlighting the potential that big data can unlock. Several local companies were interviewed, testifying that business solutions software has been instrumental to their competitiveness in the current economy.

According to the article, analyzing the numbers can help reduce costs by,  "eliminating inefficiencies and human bias, strengthening client bonds by anticipating clients' needs, enriching service offerings with new knowledge, and giving employees new tools to perform their jobs better."

Information such as item pricing histories and customer traffic patterns may already be part of the company assets, but various analytic tools can help uncover deeper insights into their business performance through the years.

What Is Big Data?

According to Investopedia's definition, "big data" is simply the volume of structured and unstructured data can be collected, organized and presented for various purposes. This may take the form of sales transactions, click-through rates for banner or native ads, search engine rankings, social media penetration, and more.

Companies that have been in business for years possess substantial big data that can be analyzed and assessed with an eye for future improvements. The analysis can go beyond the standard profit-loss assessment and incorporate seasonality to your evaluation of your company's performance. You can also track the trends across your customers' shipping, payment, and browsing preferences over time.

"Companies that are able to collect large amount of data are provided with the opportunity to conduct deeper and richer analysis," Investopedia further explains. The challenge for today's businesses is leveraging this information to improve their performance, which will require the use of powerful business solutions that can make sense of this data overload. 

Web Store Analytics For Tracking Customer Behavior

eCommerce retail is ideally poised for gathering the kind of numbers that make up big data. Since every step of the buyer's journey is recorded digitally, your team does not have to perform any guesswork to see which aspects of your inventory are performing will. The Business Intelligence feature offered by Connected Business can generate charts and reports based on signups, sales, rate of returns, preferred modes of payment and shipment, and other aspects of the shopping experience. 

You can also incorporate web traffic analysis by enabling Google Analytics for Connected Business eCommerce. The Connected Business web store has been optimized for Google's various demographic tools which can be accessed through the Web Admin Panel. By analyzing which keywords or search engines people use to find your company, you can then initiate more precise advertising campaigns.

How Stats Improve Other Processes

For companies that use ERPs with fully integrated databases, big data can help in strategic inventory planning. Since customer data and buying preferences are readily available, you can track in real time which types of products are performing well through your various selling channels. Products which are more in demand online than in physical stores, for example, can be consolidated and stored in your fulfillment locations, freeing up your brick-and-mortar stores to stock up on quick-moving products for their location.

Track the seasonality of specific products using data collated from years of performance using Busines Intelligence. This will prevent you from ordering season-specific items at the wrong time and have them take up space in your warehouses as you wait for peak demand. Furthermore, you can maximize the sales of the high-demand items that you have identified by setting up recurring purchase orders for them, ensuring that none of your selling channels will be out of stock.

Your sales representatives can also use big data to optimize their upselling and cross-selling opportunities. You can create specific prospect and lead profiles based on their location, buying history, and other factors, then highlight the kind of products that anticipate that specific market segment's needs.

"Today, big data is changing the rules of commerce and business operations, creating opportunities and challenges for small business," states Small Biz Trends. The companies that will rise to the top in this highly competitive environment needs to use ever tool in their arsenal to hone their operations and create greater buzz for their brand.

The Business Intelligence module can help your business leverage big data, guide you in making better-informed decisions on your sales processes, and reduce costs incurred through inefficient workflows. You can also enjoy a wide. Learn more about Business Intelligence by watching this video:



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