Would you drive a car without working headlights?
Have you ever thought of driving your car without headlights? Probably not. So, will you drive your business without the ability to see clearly ahead of you? Those who do see the competition, with clear visibility, are able to drive straight ahead.
Business Intelligence (BI) helps you to look ahead
Information is the basis for decision making. The timely availability of accurate information or lack thereof can make or break a business. It does not matter if it is a physical store/warehouse or an eCommerce business. Timely and accurate information determines if your company is going to be at the top of the market or will barely make it out of the gate.
Business Intelligence defined
BI or Business Intelligence is the collection and organization of business related data accumulated over a period and presented in a meaningful way to make it easy to understand, comprehend and to serve as the basis for business decision making.
eCommerce related Business Intelligence
There is some eCommerce specific BI required to efficiently run an eCommerce business. However, most of the matrices are the same as those required by all businesses. Some of the important reports related to eCommerce business are:
- Top Performers: Most profitable advertising campaigns, customers, segments, products and Sales Channels.
- Trend Analysis: Analysis of changing customer preferences and behavior.
- Margin Analysis: cost and profitability of products and product lines. areas where margins can be increased, price sensitivity and elasticity of demand.
- Marketing Reports: Products included in the cart, abandoned carts, search terms used, the response of newsletter, etc.
- Sales Report: Sales Analysis, sales, returns, taxes, shipping, refunds, discount coupons, promotional offerings, credit card collections etc.
- Inventory Reports: Items sold, available quantities, items to be reordered, new items, orders in hand and on order, inventory in transit and much more.
BI tools for eCommerce
The concept of Dashboards is not new. They have existed for decades, though not in the fancy form that you find them in now with drill down feature for further analysis. Dashboards put all the diversified information together in one place. This allows Managers to have a global view of the state of their business. They can drill down on the areas of their interest or where they see the need for taking corrective action. Dashboards save substantial time by helping a manager know the state of the business at a glance.
- Performance Scoreboards:
Performance scoreboards provide measurement to the extent the objectives of the business were achieved. They highlight the areas requiring immediate action and monitoring. Further analysis of the scoreboards allows managers to identify the customer group, product line or the individual products and customers where the actual performance is lagging behind expectation.
- Google Analytics
The eCommerce tracking module of Google Analytics is a very powerful tool in the hand of eCommerce Managers to analyze the direction in which their business is heading. The data available to users includes total revenue, average order value, conversion rate, the number of unique purchases, the number of transactions, quantity sold and sales by product.