How data affects consumers and the businesses they buy from

23rd February, 2022. Published by Georgia Watson

Data has transformed the way businesses and consumers interact, raising customer expectations while at the same time making businesses more capable of meeting them. Online users share enormous amounts of data about their personal interests and preferences, giving companies a treasure trove of useful information to personalise their online experience.

All of this has allowed companies to better manage and organise their data so that they can build a better understanding of exactly what kind of data they have and, more importantly, devise a plan for using it effectively.

Continue reading to learn more about how businesses are using data and how it affects consumers.

Big data for businesses

Resource allocation

Before digital methods of obtaining data took hold, companies gained valuable information on their customers primarily by asking them to complete physical surveys at the end of their buying experience. These techniques were somewhat unreliable because they collected data from only those willing to fill out the surveys, and the information companies learned from them tended not to be very comprehensive.

But data collection has given companies an unprecedented capacity to gather and store information, allowing them to learn about each of their customers’ (or potential customers’) habits, interests and preferences, and then use that information to create a better experience.

The result is that companies now have an enormous amount of data on those that interact with them and use their products/services. Once they’ve understood how to organise and manage this data, this gives them a wealth of potential.

Analytics for better strategies

More than influencing consumer behaviour, data also allows companies to track several key performance indicators, including customer loyalty, net promoter score, conversion rate and a whole buffet of other metrics.

Having this data on hand allows companies to pinpoint the areas in their operations that are working well and those that need improvement. They use this information as a starting point to develop ever more effective strategies to continually drive returns.

It’s a mixed bag

Not every business understands the utility of this data, however. “There’s a misunderstanding of data, but there’s also a misunderstanding of what data [companies] currently have and what data they can get from the systems,” said Mark Brownlie, CFO at Silxo.

According to Brownlie, while some companies don’t fully understand the sheer volume of data they have access to, others simply lack the structural means to collate it and turn it into something that’s accessible and usable. One of the reasons for this is that data is often in the wrong format, so companies simply don’t have the means to understand it.

This presents a challenge for these businesses today as data has become the driving force behind success.

How consumers are affected

Consumers give out a lot of data

Brownlie added that the use of data affects huge numbers of customers, but many of them aren’t fully aware of how exactly that data is affecting them.

Still, data mining has become a central feature of companies’ digital strategies. “The best companies are collecting data surreptitiously behind the websites and then using that for predictive sales, behavioural analysis, etc.” said Brownlie.

Consumers unwittingly share several pieces of information every time they use the internet. Sophisticated digital tools track their online habits, picking up information about their age, demographic, interests, likes and dislikes, all to help create a user experience more tailored to them.

Using data to your company’s advantage

Imagine this: You’re in the market for a new coat. You search a number of online marketplaces for different styles, each in a variety of colours, designs and sizes. Something else diverts your attention, and you close out of the window and click into a new page.

To your surprise, a selection of the coats you were just looking at are now being advertised across the new page. It’s an online scenario that’s happened to each one of us, and it’s very purposeful.

Behind this process, companies are gathering enormous bits of information from consumers, but many of them are unaware of the potential it offers. “A lot of companies don’t understand the data they have at their fingertips,” said Brownlie. “There’s a misunderstanding of data, but there’s also a misunderstanding of what data they currently have, and what data they can get from their existing systems.”

By devising a better means of organising, managing and analysing this data so that it’s more easily accessible, companies are able to devise better strategies for getting the most from their data and driving themselves forward.

Personalisation and customer experience

Consumers want to be treated like individuals, and they expect brands to give them a consumer experience that is neatly fitted to their interests. According to a survey from Epsilon and GBH insights, 80% of consumers want retailers to personalise their shopping experience. The explosion of the use of digital tools, like artificial intelligence, has enabled more companies to meet that demand.

Not only does that mean sending consumers targeted ads with products and services that meet their interests, it also means tailoring their online experience to reflect their unique challenges and pain points. Banks, for example, can use AI to understand a customer’s financial circumstances and automatically send them prompts on a web browser with useful tips and cues.

How Silxo can help

Data has given companies an enormous volume of information that they can use to transform their strategies, operations and the way they interact with customers.

Tapping into these digital resources is key for future growth and agility. Silxo offers a full digital management service that helps your company better organise its data and access it in the most efficient way possible. Our team of experts offer a suite of digital solutions that help transform your data operations and drive your company forward. Contact one of our representatives today to get started.

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