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Data collection methods: Collecting relevant data

There are quite a lot of factors that differentiate a good e-commerce store from one that is about to head downwards. But, one thing always stays true. The good ones are the ones who are intent on understanding their customers, their needs, behaviors, and how they buy. In fact, it is true across most industries. But in e-commerce, you are very unlikely to become profitable without knowing your customers on a deep level. You need to work with your data collection methods to achieve that. You need to collect the relevant data needed to understand your business and customers to become profitable today.

According to the consultancy group, Accenture 91% of online shoppers are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.

But how do you know what is relevant to them? It starts with data, how you collect it, how you consolidate it, and how you use it to create relevant content for your potential customers. That is what the biggest players in e-commerce are investing all their resources in. It does makes sense when you look at the return on investment when it comes to personalized experiences!

What are data collection methods?

Data collection is the process of gathering information about your customers, their behavior, needs, triggers, and much more. There are several methods for collecting data, from simple manual observation and recording to advanced statistical methods that require advanced tools like computer software. Data collected can be used in many ways. Everything from helping make decisions and inform problem-solving strategies; to creating reports; analyzing trends; or simply as raw material for future analysis.

Data collection methods can be done manually or automatically; in person or remotely; using any number of methods (such as questionnaires) and tools (like tablet computers).

What data to collect from customers

Customer data is a company’s most valuable asset. Data is the foundation of your customer knowledge, which in turn powers your customer intelligence. This information is the fuel that allows you to unlock value from customers. It’s also the lifeblood of your customer strategy.

As a result, collecting relevant data about your customers should be a top priority for any business.

There are plenty of types of data to collect from your customers. In order to keep it simple, I will only highlight the ones that are actually useful for your business, and the ones that make sense to spend time and resources on.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Contact Information
  • Address
  • Payment Information
  • Interests
  • Preferences
  • Shopping behavior

The first 4 ones are usually easy to collect when people sign up on your website or even if they check out as a guest. Payment information is typically easy to collect when they buy something from your website. All this information is key to understanding your customers.

However, without the last 3, it is hard to use them for anything meaningful. And the last 3 are not as quite as simple to collect. Typically you would need high-level advanced data analytics tools to do such a thing. One of the best ways to go about it is with an e-commerce customer data platform.

Think of an e-commerce customer data platform (CDP) as the backbone and brain of your data infrastructure. It is where all your data will get collected, consolidated, analyzed, and made ready for you to make much smarter decisions based on your knowledge.

A tool like the e-commerce data platform can help you automatically analyze and predict customer behavior, and preferences. It can understand how you reach your customers in the most effective way possible.

Customer data analytics

What happens if you don’t collect customer data

I can not express strongly enough that collecting customer data is literally ‘do or die’ for e-commerce in these times. So when you collect it, there are 2 major mistakes you should look to avoid to do it better than your competition

  1. Not collecting enough data. A lot of e-commerce businesses only collect demographic data in the false belief that is enough to use for data analytics. You probably already know it doesn’t work like that. Behavioral data is key to success. The classical saying that ‘marketing is phycology’ is absolutely true. You need to understand why your customers buy or don’t buy. Interest, preferences, and behavioral data are where you strike gold with your data.
  2. Collecting too much data. Some e-commerces go far overboard and collect too much information. Companies often very collect useless data that is not worth much for the business as it is. Not only does it require a lot of extra resources. Often times it means they overinvest in an analytics tool that does not provide value for what they need. There is also the aspect of trust with your customers. If you ask for too many things, they will find it suspicious and wonder how you treat their data.

If you don’t collect enough data, you won’t be able to understand your customers on a level that is needed to create personalized experiences for your customers. You are basically removing the opportunity for your to make data-driven decisions based on your insights. You won’t have the full overview of your business that you can get with a data warehouse to understand what is going on on your webshop.

On the other side, investing too heavily into collecting useless data will make it less effective. It is a balance of trust, and using your limited resources, time, and money in the best way possible. Check out the most accessible e-commerce customer data platform to learn more about how to do it in the smartest way possible.

How to collect customer data

Now that we have discussed why collecting data is absolutely key, as well as what customer data you should look to collect, let’s have a look at how you can work with data collection methods in the best way possible for your e-commerce customer data.

One key to having a good way to collect data is working with a data warehouse. The biggest companies invest millions and millions into data infrastructure for their e-commerces. With it, you are able to collect data from all your sources including your website, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook ads, your email system, and much more. And this is key if you want to have a full overview of your business. It helps you understand your customers on a deeper level. An e-commerce CDP like Custimy can then automatically analyze the demographic and behavioral data to build audiences and segments based on who is most valuable for your business.

Doing this not only saves you time. It also gives you higher quality data in form of first-party data, that you own. Leverage that advantage over your competition to provide personalized experiences for your customers that drives up their value for your business. Basically, the data can be used to up the lifetime value of your customers and thus make them more profitable for your business instead of chasing new customers always. Talk about being on top of your game in these times where e-commerce is hurting and the growth has disappeared.

What is an e-commerce customer data platform?

A customer data platform is a software tool that collects, consolidates, and analyzes all your customer, marketing, and product data in one place, the data warehouse. If you think about your data infrastructure, think of the CDP as the brain of your e-commerce operations. The one thing tying it all together. The data warehouse is the backbone of your data. The one place where all gets stored and ready for analysis and activation by your CDP.

This setup allows you to take all your data and export it easily and quickly to the right channels. It allows you to trust your data and know that you are working. It’s a single source of truth based on everything going on in your business.

Having such a setup is what the biggest and most successful e-commerce stores have spent years and millions to develop because it allows them to take decisions based on what their data tells them. And they own the data, so they can trust what they see is accurate and sources in an ethical way.

With Custimy, even small e-commerce stores can gain access to that same level of previously enterprise-only infrastructure. We have made it easy to use, and it costs only a tiny fraction of the cost compared to the most intensive solutions out there.

An e-commerce CDP makes it easier to work with your data collection methods in a way that drives value for your business.

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