October 8, 2014

Why you need to track your data.

Do you have a supermarket loyalty card? You know, a Tescos Clubcard or Sainsbury’s nectar card?

Why do you think that supermarkets run highly costly schemes that promise to give us money or save on our shopping?

“To build loyalty of course. That’s why they’re called loyalty cards. Duh”

No, although there is an element of retaining customers through bribing them with points, that is a secondary effect. (As the supermaket field is mostly driven by low prices there is little customer loyalty and people tend to go where they can get the cheapest food)

And if it was about customer loyalty and getting you to buy from them why is it that you get nectar points when you buy from E-bay?

The loyalty card enbables supermarkets to track customer buying behaviour on a massive scale to learn about our habits and preferences.

So, on an individual level you get vouchers for 10p off tuna or organic milk with your clubcard statement. You get them because these are items you buy and the marketing is tailored to you.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, they can track customer trends on a huge scale and alter their marketing, packaging and prices accordingly to maximuse profits. For any given promotion or product they can see who is buying what, how often and what other items are also being purchased.

For example, the store-checkout system will tell you how many fish-fingers you are selling in a month. But add a loyalty card and you’ll know how often a typical customer buys fish fingers. If your fish-fingers are on offer then are existing customers buying in bulk or are you selling to new customers who don’t normally buy breaded fish rectangeles?

Just think how buying behaviours, choices and typical family shopping baskets by area can influence your marketing tactics.
Powerful stuff.

There’s nothing else to learn, is there?

You’d think by now that supermarkets would know everything there is to know about selling food. But obviously not. They are operating in a highly competitive field where few large players jostle for market share. Insights into customer behaviour give them the edge.

You already have the edge.

By monitoring your website activity you already are in a position to get reliable buying data without having to rely on loyalty cards. With basic website monitoring you too can track your visitor behaviour in real time:

– Which blog posts get the msot subscribers?
– Which ad campaign makes the most sales?
– Which referrals get the best quality traffic?
– What keywords are getting people to my site?
– Are my visitors leaving on a given page?

Businesses need to grow and evolve even to stand still.

You need to track your data. Analyse and interpret it intelligently. Modify your business accordingly. And repeat.

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