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Why Small Retailers Need Big Data (And How You Can Harness It)

Retailers are always looking for a competitive edge. Larger retailers have been making a huge push into data and insights, often making significant investments in data analytics to drive their business decisions. Big data is changing the business landscape, allowing businesses to enhance product quality, improve marketing, and further customer relationships. Smaller retailers have lagged their larger competitors in using data to drive their operations.

Big data is here, and it’s not going anywhere. Small to mid-sized retailers either lack the resource to invest in data or undervalue their importance. Many small businesses think all this data is only for large retailers. Large stores have been collecting data for years, and many independent shops are just beginning to join in. Some small businesses think following this digital footprint is creepy. But compare it to this – in a brick and mortar store, an owner can subconsciously tracks customers’ paths through the store. They may recognize repeat customers and recommend products they think they will like. They keep notes on what is selling well, who is buying what, and what sorts of questions people ask. In an online business, you can retrieve this information and offer a similar service, all it takes is a little digging.

It may seem overwhelming to begin finding data, and even scarier to figure out what to do with it. But you likely are already on the path to retrieving important information about your customers, and getting organized is the first step to transforming your business.

Big data is simply described as large pools of data that can be brought together and analyzed to discern patterns and make better decisions. Accessing data and learning how to harness is key to staying competitive in this ecommerce world. Data-driven decision making truly has the potential to make or break your business. If all your competitors are digitizing their sales and shipping, and paying close attention to customer patterns, don’t you think you should too?

As businesses create and store more data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and detailed information on everything from how many clicks before purchase to product inventories, exposing variability and boosting performance. Some leading companies are using data analytics to conduct experiments and test hypotheses to make better management decisions.

Tracking sales data can begin to answer hundreds of questions. How many sales involve discounts or promotions versus full price purchases? How big is your average sale? Does the average size go up or down at certain times? What times of day, days of the week and months of the year do you make the most sales? Conversely, which ones are slow? How do customers find your store? Where do you customers live? By diving into big data, dozens and dozens of other answers can easily be at your fingertips. You will need the help of a good data analytics tool.

There are stand-alone data analytics software or some ecommerce management software have built-in analytics tools. An ecommerce software like Jazva captures sales, order, and customer data, and when coupled with powerful algorithms, provide invaluable insights to help you make smarter business decisions. Want to know what price you should be selling your product? Jazva can analyze the market and suggest prices. Want to know how your product might perform over the next year? Jazva can help you understand your products' life cycles.

Jazva makes it easy to create custom dashboards to view your sales performance and KPI’s, all in one place. Get information on what’s important to you and your business. Find out which products are performing best and through which sales channel, and you can get even more specific and drill down to sales details such as size and color. Generate reports based on your custom criteria to access valuable information about your sales, products, channels, and customers.

These insights can then be translated into suggestions for marketing, inventory, shipping, purchasing, and more. Discover your top sellers, figure out which social media site tracks the most to your site, and nail down which products you need to stock up on for the next season.

Big data doesn’t have to be so scary when you’ve got a reliable system. By using data to drive business decisions, you can make faster, evidence-based decisions, giving you an edge over competition and a boost to your bottom line.

Ryan Elich

Ryan Elich

Ryan Elich is the director of sales at Jazva, a unified multi-channel e-commerce solution that manages orders, listings, inventory and shipping, all through one platform. Ryan has been in the e-commerce industry for over 6 years, and his passion is selling baby potty training products online. Outside of work, he enjoys time with family, fantasy sports and Disneyland.