Big data is big business. Small and medium sized business owners can be intimidated by the sheer amount of data that exists and may not know how to use it to their advantage. By understanding how big data works, knowing how to use it to increase sales, as well as your online presence is crucial to understanding the important personalization effects it has on your business.
HOW BIG DATA WORKS WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATION SYSTEM
To understand how big data works, we need to understand what it is. Big data is defined by Sas.com has “the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured.” Sounds simple enough but you could not be more wrong. Due to the immense amount of big data available for collection and analysis, data is defined as “the three Vs of big data: volume, velocity and variety.”
So what does this mean in terms of personalizing inventory recommendations for your users? Due to the immense amount of data available, you can make much more informed decisions regarding the optimization of your recommendation engine. Every time someone visits your site – even if they do not buy anything – you can collect their metadata. By reviewing your analytical data even just once a week you can make predictions based on a variety of different factors.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO PERSONALIZE BIG DATA
Instead of trying to parse through all the data you find, use it to your advantage instead. Join and promote yourself and your business on social media websites like Twitter and Snapchat. Grow your online presence and build up a virtual audience or viewership. Identify online trends and match them to your products (or at least make them compatible). Just because you do not have the resources like Google or Amazon to analyze big data does not mean you should be at a disadvantage.
According to Go-gulf.ae, “46% of web users look towards social media when making a purchase.” In addition, the majority of web users access the Internet from a mobile device, which social media and networking is designed and optimized for via apps. Since surpassing desktop computers in 2014, “Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%),” Smart Insights reports. Furthermore, the Social Media Examiner, via Hubspot, reports that “84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form” and that 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business.
So how do you optimize in-site search results with your recommendation engine? There are many ways to do this. For example: just before a holiday, you can tweet out a special promotion occurring at your online store for a limited time offer. Link the webpage where the promotion is listed and people can tweet it to their friends. This is a great way to get rid of unwanted inventory. You can then use the recommendation engine embedded in your site to offer related suggestions of similar inventory for the holiday season.
THE POWER OF KNOWING YOUR COMPETITION AND AUDIENCE
Another way to use your recommendation engine in conjunction with big data is to send polls and questions out over social media. Users can send back their replies and you can see what they value and are willing to pay for. You may realize that a “favorite” item is not actually that popular, or vice versa. You may learn that your competition is selling similar items but at a lower cost to undercut you. By offering a deal undercutting their selling price on inventory, you can regain control over your niche and increase sales. This form of primary research relies on the truthfulness of the person being tested, but there’s information and valuable data you can get from actually talking to people that you can’t get anywhere else.
There are two mistakes business owners should avoid when using social media. First, create a second account for your personal use. Do not mix your personal and professional life because a single, errant tweet or Facebook post has the potential to destroy your business. Once something is posted to the Internet it cannot be erased. Second, treat your followers with respect. This means not posting an abrasive personal opinion that could harm your business, or spamming them with offers and notifications.
Customers like knowing what their favorite business is doing, but they will not like it if they receive a message about a fire sale you are having, five times per day, for an entire week. THink quality over quantity. Talk with your followers, gain their insights, and make your recommendation engine as efficient as possible in making relevant suggestions to customers based on their concerns, wants, and needs.