Data analysis isn’t just for corporations. Small businesses can benefit from big data technology, too. You can do it. Even though you operate a small business, you can take advantage of the power of big data analytics.
The value of knowing the customer is one of the biggest benefits of big data, but it is not the only one. Here are some advantages to use data analysis in your small business.
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Understanding how your customers think
Thanks to data, small businesses can get a big picture of their customers how they think, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, and what factors lead them to recommend a company to others.
Companies can also better interact and engage with customers by analysing customer feedback in order to improve a product or service. Useful data sources include traditional in-house data (like sales data and customer service logs), social media, browser logs, text analytics, and large, public data sets.
Social media has become a particularly valuable source of data, making activities such as identifying niche markets and analysing customer feedback much easier and cheaper. Twitter, where almost all conversations are effectively held in public, is easier to mine than most platforms.
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A Proactive Approach to Your Small Business
It is easy to be reactive when running a small business, but a proactive approach is better, and potentially more profitable. Analyzing your existing data allows you to move from mere reaction to anticipating the needs of your customers.
Small business owners can use data gleaned from past orders to recommend new products and services to their customers. This proactive approach lowers costs, harnesses existing relationships, builds brands and grows profits over time.
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Checking out the competition
In the past, understanding your competition was limited to industry gossip or looking around rivals’ websites or shops. Some might go as far as pretending to be customers in order to find out more about a competitor’s service or product. These days though, you hardly need to leave your desk to find out what the competition is up to; financial data is readily available, Google Trends can offer insights on the popularity of a brand or product, and social media analysis can illustrate the popularity and show what customers are saying.
Again, Twitter is a particularly transparent place to start. All the information you gather can be compared with your own brand; for example, does your competitor get more mentions on Twitter? How do their Twitter conversations with customers compare with yours?
Keep in mind that it’s also easy for your competitors to glean more information on your business than ever before. There’s no way around this, but you can stay one step ahead by keeping up-to-date on the latest big data technologies and uses.
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A More Effective Online Presence
Whether your small business operates in the real world or just in cyberspace, a strong online presence is essential. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to allocate those online resources, and many small business owners struggle to build their brands online.
Small businesses also find it difficult to cut through the clutter and reach their intended demographics, but data analysis can make the process easier and more effective. By harnessing the power of data analytics, small business owners gain insight into everything from which keywords bring in the business to which products are the hottest sellers. By making online marketing more effective, data analytics can lower costs, enhance brand loyalty and boost profits.
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Improve Future Products
Even the most successful small business cannot afford to rest on its laurels or rely on its past successes. Even if you have been blessed with a blockbuster product, you need to be gearing up for your next act.
Data analytics can help you make your existing products better while designing additional products your customers will want to buy. By harnessing disparate sources of data from a variety of sources, quality analysis can uncover hidden issues with current products and provide clues for further improvements.