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How to Use Customer Data to Make Your Products More Visible Online

16 January 2020

By Drew Smith

Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Upp and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

Consumer Behaviour

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Data is king! Everyone knows this, but using that data is a little more complex. 

For ecommerce retailers, creative use of customer data can deliver a lot of positive outcomes. Brands use this information to inform new product releases, increase the conversion rate of product listing ads and improve customer satisfaction.

When it comes to ecommerce, visibility is half the challenge. With the ever-growing number of product listings online, getting the attention of your customers has proportionally increased in difficulty. Even if customers know they want your product, it can be hard for them to find your product listing ads in a sea of competitors. 

There are a lot of tricks to improving visibility and discoverability. Omnichannel ecommerce strategies and channel-specific optimisation lie at the heart of improving these outcomes. Customer data can help you do all of this. Let’s explain. 


Visibility is about relevance 

It’s easy to forget that online browsing and shopping are uniquely personal experiences. That’s not just a comment on how everyone experiences the world around them subjectively, it’s a comment on the nature of how ecommerce platforms work. When you log into a platform, algorithms tailor your experience (i.e. the products that are most visible to you) based on what you’ve previously searched for, products you’ve clicked on and how the site has categorised you accordingly.

When you’re listing your products through third-party channels, how relevant the channel deems your products in relation to a user’s purchase history can make all the difference to your visibility. 

Thus, relevance is key to visibility… And customer data is the key to relevance. 


Make yourself relevant

Of course, that doesn’t mean that relevance is something that brands should leave to the whims of fate. There are many steps that brands can follow to make themselves relevant to users and drive conversion rates accordingly. For example, your product descriptions will go a long way towards your relevance in the eyes of the consumer. The wording of your copy can be tailored in a way that resonates with them. The better you know your customer data, the easier it is to do this. 

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Be in the right place at the right time

Choosing relevant channels is of critical importance when trying to engage your target audience. Customer data can reveal where the demographics you’re interested in spend their time while they’re online. What’s the point of listing your products on Instagram Shopping if your customers don’t use the platform? 

Customer data can also guide you to make better budget management decisions. For example, should you invest your effort and capital in Google Shopping, Amazon, search ads, or a combination of the three? 

Unless you have the customer data to hand that will allow you to make well informed decisions, you’re flying blind. Which in turn could mean wasted time, capital and resources.


Data will help you conquer filtered search 

Browsing an online store isn’t like strolling at a leisurely pace through a supermarket. Online consumers are intent-rich and know exactly what they’re looking for. If they take to their computers, tablets or smartphones to find a product, they don’t want to have to wade through multiple irrelevant listings to find what they want.

With this in mind, filtered search is an increasingly popular tool used by shoppers to get quick access to relevant products. This is great for shoppers, but it presents a degree of challenge for the brands trying to get their products in front of them. 

A channel-agnostic approach to ecommerce requires brands to incorporate these filter categories into their product listings. Doesn’t sound like too big a deal, does it? And it wouldn’t be… If all channels used the same filter categories... But they don’t. 

Not only will you have to ensure that your listings conform to the relevant filter categories on each platform, you’ll need to mirror those categories in your own product pages. 


Is it worth it? You’d better believe it is!

That can be a lot of effort, but it’s absolutely essential if you want the conversion rates you need to make a big impression across multiple platforms. Filtered search users are more intent-rich and as such more likely to convert. They have a clear idea of what they want, and if you can position yourselves in front of them, they will be more likely to choose your product at the expense of your competitors’. 

Leveraging the past search-history of your target demographics can give you a clearer understanding of which filter categories they see and use. The more you know about popular filtered searches amongst your target audience the more visible you are to them. What’s more, ranking for filtered searches won’t just drive your conversion rates, it’ll often also bring down your costs per-ad.


Using all of this data requires having the data

As we can see, leveraging customer data can prove vital in making your products visible to your customers, whether they’re shopping on your website or through another channel. But getting that data can be a challenge in and of itself. 

While your own platform’s analytics tools can provide valuable insights when it comes to customer data, you need more than that in the omni-platform era. The trouble is that some platforms are more forthcoming with customer data than others. Amazon is notoriously uncooperative in this regard. They regard their customers as their customers and will divulge only what you need to know to dispatch your products.

Fortunately, there are manual workarounds like posting “Sponsored Product Listings” or leveraging Facebook ads to create “Lookalike Audiences” to which you can market directly. But even when you mine all that you can from platforms like Amazon and Google, you still have issues when it comes to centralising all of your disaggregated data.

This is where ecommerce platforms can come to your rescue. They deliver insights, not just from a broad spectrum of e-commerce channels, but from the whole internet. They use advanced AI not just to provide raw customer data but to process it into actionable and insightful information.


Customer data will help you make the right visibility decision

So, what’s the best way to make your brand and your products visible to your customers? That depends on who you are, what you’re selling and whom you want to sell it to. But broadly speaking, ensuring a presence on the right channels, optimising your listings accordingly, and making your listings relevant and searchable can go a long way. 

Customer data can, however, make all the difference in making your products searchable, findable and discoverable to the consumers who matter the most to your brand. Leveraging customer data allows you to focus your efforts where they will have the most impact.

Without the right technological tools, this can be a gruelling and time-consuming chore. But the right ecommerce platforms can make it easy! 

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