A decade ago, data-driven marketing was a foreign concept. You simply told as many people as possible about your product and hoped that some people would be interested enough to buy it.
Today, things couldn’t be more different. The explosion of digital technology and big data has changed the game for e-commerce marketers, and data-driven marketing is now a necessity for online retailers who want to retain their competitive edge. Still, many online retailers struggle to turn their data into actionable insight. Here are the biggest challenges that e-commerce marketers face when it comes to their data — and how to solve them.
Challenge: Budget and time constraints
Every business owner wishes that they had more time and money to achieve their goals. The reality is that most small- to medium-sized online retailers have limited resources, which can make data-driven marketing a significant hurdle.
Solution: Invest in marketing automation
To properly collect, manage and utilize your marketing data, investing in an automated solution is necessary. Before you write this off as being too expensive, know that now, there are platforms with prices to suit any budget.
Marketing automation allows you to gather high-quality data, personalize the user experience, and measure your performance along the way. If you’re looking to grow your business and position your brand for long-term success, technology is a key investment.
Challenge: Tracking the right metrics
Do you feel as though you’re drowning in a sea of information? You’re not alone. Many digital marketers struggle to figure out exactly which figures to track and measure. Worse still, many of them end up tracking vanity metrics — easily manipulated figures that might look good on a report but have no actual value for business reporting.
Solution: Revisit your business goals
Just because it’s trackable doesn’t mean that it adds value to your marketing plans. Rather than padding your company’s report, think about your overall business goals. Which metrics will tell you if you are on the right track to achieving these goals?
While there are certain e-commerce metrics (think transactions, revenue, conversion rates) that every business owner should track, some will be unique to your company based on your goals. If a metric doesn’t show how you’re moving closer to success, it probably isn’t worth the time to examine it closely.
Challenge: Failure to transform data into actions
Now that you’ve collected all this data, it’s time to put it to good use. Unfortunately, a common problem among small business owners is that they don’t have the time to extract valuable insight from their data and act on it quickly. In today’s competitive online market, speed is critical. Even big box retailers can have difficulty making meaningful connections from their metrics.
Solution: Automated marketing recommendations
Find a marketing automation platform that does this work for you. With data-driven recommendations sent straight to a customized dashboard, you can analyze your data in real time to know what your next marketing move should be.
Challenge: Providing an omnichannel experience
The path to a purchase is more complex in the digital and mobile age. Today’s consumers shop on multiple devices and channels. Not only do they expect a consistent shopping experience across those platforms, but many contemporary customers fluctuate from a retail space to an online store, using both desktop and mobile technology as they move closer to conversion.
To meet their evolving needs, your brand must engage with customers at every possible touchpoint. The first step in achieving this is establishing an engaging omnichannel experience for your users.
The Solution: Break Down Silos
To deliver an integrated solution across all devices, you need to work closely with other departments to exchange valuable data. By breaking down silos within your company, you can take an integrated approach to your marketing and leverage multiple data sets to inform your marketing strategy.
Challenge: Acting on bad data
Bad data is the bane of digital marketers everywhere. The worst part is many digital marketers don’t realize they’re using bad data until their click-through rates and conversions have plummeted.
Whether the information became outdated over time or was inaccurate from the start, marketers need the data to be precise to achieve the complete picture of the customer. To do this, committing to cleaning up your data regularly is essential.
Solution: Maintain your database regularly
Over time, data quality degrades. If you don’t want old data to kill your sales and hurt your customer relationships, then you need to regularly clean your database. No one looks forward to this process, but it is essential for your business’s bottom line. If you allow your bad data to compile, it will only hurt your sales in the long run.
Challenge: Failing to gain greater market share
Smart use of your store’s marketing data can help you seize unique opportunities to drive sales to your site. However, if you are focused solely on your own e-commerce store and not taking your competitors into account, then you are missing a vital part of your digital marketing strategy.
Solution: Perform a competitive analysis
Business owners have been sizing up their competitors for ages, and who can blame them? By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can identify new marketing opportunities, eliminate potential threats and capture a greater share of your market. You can even save money by avoiding others’ mistakes and capitalizing on their best strategies.
Customers continue to have higher expectations of online retailers, and your brand must overcome data challenges to remain competitive, increase conversions, and inspire lasting consumer loyalty.
Erika Brookes is the Chief Marketing Officer at Springbot where she leads all brand, product, marketing campaigns and communications.