If you’re a small business, then you must have heard of Big Data. Perhaps you use it, or maybe you don’t, but it is becoming increasingly important in the world of business.
Big data provides companies with huge amounts of information about their customers: their spending habits, how much they spend, when they’re most likely to purchase goods, their interests, whether they have children, their age and sex, etc.
Imagine what knowing all of this about your clients could do for your business. How many times have you spent money on advertising, only to get no business, interest or revenue from it? That’s because you’re targeting the wrong people or the wrong area. Knowing more about your clients means you can target your advertising in the right places, creating more interest in your business, and more paying customers.
Big data means you can review which products or services are the most popular, and which aren’t. You can also determine why certain products aren’t selling, and fix these issues. You can discover what might stop your clients from clicking ‘Buy’: is it the shipping costs, or maybe you don’t deliver to their area?
Every business, big and small, can benefit from this type of data collection and tracking.
All businesses should use free software such as Google Analytics to track when customers are visiting their site. It shares their clients’ general interests and hobbies, their age and gender, and location. Knowing all of these details enables you to understand your buyers.
So how do you go about collecting big data?
It’s best to begin with manageable data, especially if you’re a small business. You could start by setting up an email subscription service so your clients have to enter their name, email and location to receive your updates. You could even include date of birth so you can deduct their age. Tempt them by offering them a ‘birthday present’ each year, which might be 10% off their birthday week. This will make them want to enter their birthday.
You should start using free software such as Google Analytics. The system will automatically collect small bits of data for you, such as when a customer is on your site, where they are, their general interests and hobbies, age, and gender. You could put this information into a spreadsheet, and gradually collect it this way. Data collection should be a slow and natural process. Don’t spend hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to get a full set of data on every single one of your customers. This will be a waste of time and money that could be invested elsewhere.
When your data is becoming more substantial, switch to a data storage system by IDBS.com. The system will manage all the data, and protect it. Any system that you invest in should be tailor-made to suit your industry. Make the right decision first time to save time and money later on.
What should you do with the data once you’ve got it?
You’ve collected all the data you need or want, but now what do you do with it? Having this data is useless unless you analyse the patterns and trends. It might tell you that the majority of your clients are visiting your website between 6 pm and 8 pm, so if you want to share any information with them, or promote a certain product, it would be best to do it at this time so the maximum amount of people will see it.
Perhaps you have one product that just isn’t selling. Analyse the data you have, and then drop the price of the product. Analyse the data collected after the price drop and compare the two. How has this price drop made a difference in sales?
You might be attracting 80% females to your site. Use your data to analyse if it is worthwhile reaching out to males, or if this will be a waste of time because your products are predominantly for females, e.g. nail varnish.
General Big Data Statistics
To put big data into perspective, 8GBs of data is about 2000 songs on a device such as an iPod. 1 terabyte of data is the equivalent of 130,000 digital photos, which means you could take one picture a day for 356 years. 1 petabyte is about 3.5 years worth of HD film. Google processes about 20 petabytes every single day.
All of the big data in the world put together equals more than 200 billion HD movies, which would take you around 47 million years to watch.