Promo_Box_Big_Data_and_Purchase253x170There are several common data mistakes that retailers make in the effort to lead consumers down the path towards making a purchase. Because consumers can now discover, research and buy products online, retailers have access to a wealth of data on their shoppers. Unfortunately, many retailers miss the mark in their attempts to leverage this data and drive conversions.

What is Going Wrong?

Retailers often over complicate the process. Search terms are really the lowest hanging fruit.  Many retailers use natural language processing in an attempt to truly “understand” the what the customer needs from a given term. While these efforts are interesting, they are much more complicated than finding word-to-product correlation.  Its the correlation that’s meaningful to the shopper’s context rather than meaning. The error extends to social media too. Rather than trying to extract emotion from online musings, retailers should key in on the network behavior itself.

Only Looking Backwards

Another area that is lagging is when too much attention is focused on purchase history at the expense of current intent. Historical data is useful in providing an experience but certainly not everything if you ignore your customer’s intent today.

Hayneedle.com is a Baynote customer offering over 500,000 products. As you might imagine, it is challenging to help shoppers navigate  all of these products and guide them to relevant items. Hayneedle.com recently applied new techniques to improve the customer experience with great success. They use current customer intent, rather than just historical data, to understand shoppers’ evolving tastes and preferences. As well, they use search terms to identify intent and build relevant product recommendations. This change has resulted in an increase in of 3% in product views,  a 5% increase in cart starts and average order value has jumped by 2 percent across their site.

For online retailers looking for similar results, consider focusing first on the data that truly matters. At Baynote, we see the impact of these adjustments daily and have tailored our techniques to avoid confusing detours and create effective personalization solutions.