Business Intelligence in the 21st century enterprise has as much to do with what your company “knows” as what it makes, sells or buys. Companies like Priceline, Amazon and SmartBargains are just a few giants that have compiled huge databases of consumer preferences, pricing, packages of multiple purchases. That data has tremendous value – even if they never sold another item. And thanks to analytics from the streams of customer Web traffic, they can learn as much from tire-kickers who never purchase as from their most frequent buyers.
In the spirit of Black Friday and Cyber-Monday – the most retail-intensive of the year –why not invest a few minutes to take stock of what YOUR company knows. Can business intelligence deliver insights and analytics and then find another customer who finds that knowledge valuable? Do you review current web visitors or tap the experience of loyal customers or even those one-and-done buyers who didn’t come back?
It’s not just about the transaction. Is your company a source of information and trusted opinions? Are you creating communities or useful research your visitors can consult BEFORE making a buying decision?
We’re not just talking big-ticket items like cars and appliances but everything from toilet paper to movies. According to an October 2008 survey by Pen Schoen & Berland Associates, 70 percent of Americans say they consult reviews or consumer ratings before making a purchase.
Amazon first let customers post reviews in 1995 and more than 5 million users have posted tens of millions of reviews. In 1999 it introduced Wish Lists and in 2005 customer discussions. “We spend a lot of time looking at what customers are doing and seeing what they are saying” Russell Dicker, Amazon.com senior manager of community told Business Week in October. Customers may not tell you what they want or precisely what they prefer, but they can leave lots of hints if you know where to look.
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art