Data-Driven E-Commerce: Why Public Web Data Collection is Your New Mystery Shopper
The era of the mystery shopper is gone. Today, retailers hungry for competitive data only need a tool to access that information on the web; customer experiences, competitors’ pricing, sales and stock data, etc. Public web data collection is the secret of top e-commerce performers. Your biggest competitor is able to immediately react to your sale or price change by collecting slews of unstructured data from your customers and your website and transforming it into actionable datasets to measure consumer sentiment and analyze competitor performance. It’s much more convenient — and effective — than mystery shoppers!
Customer Reviews: Brutal Honesty
Brands can efficiently collect and analyze customer reviews through public web data by isolating trends to develop new, more buyer-driven product offerings. Using technology vs. manual data extraction allows a brand to view and compare thousands of reviews from multiple sites all at once. Technology can even provide automated updates on reviews, informing brands multiple times a day of customer sentiment changes or stability.
Analyzing reviews also helps retailers better understand why a product is performing well or poorly. A closer look at the geo-location each review was written from can reveal underlying reasons for the product's performance. Access to this information can provide the insight needed to improve a marketing campaign targeting an area where a product may be in higher demand.
A brand may also be interested in whether that purchase was made in person or online. That information can reveal a hidden issue, such as whether the customer was given clear instructions on how the product works or was left to figure it out once a product arrived at their home.
Social Media: The Market Thermometer
Social media provides immediate insight into your customers' conversations and search habits. Scan your competitors' posts and customer conversations and learn what hashtags they use. Follow suit and your next sale may come right to you.
Go beyond reviews and read what your customers and your competition’s customers are saying about the brands off your website and channels. Brands that are ahead in measuring sentiment are creative in their approach, employing additional tech. One example is monitoring recurring words on a numerical scale to provide clear measurement. GPT can return some really good answers for you without needing to hire someone to do this, such as finding recurring themes and delivering those insights to you. You can ask GPT what the most common complaint is and what people are most happy with. It will filter through the structured data for you.
Together, these variables help brands create a detailed, user-generated market picture, giving them insight to better identify and connect with influencers, mitigate and respond to negative reactions, and optimize future campaigns and product offerings.
Competitor Listings: Finger on the Pulse
If you stand in the aisle of a store you can see what's on the shelf, what's missing from the shelf, how the products are displayed, and prices. Imagine doing that in every aisle of every competitor’s store every day. That’s exactly what public web data collection does when looking at competitors' websites.
With your new crystal ball, you can ask the right questions to make strategic moves.
- Are they changing the price; can you match it or beat it?
- Did a product go out of stock putting yours in higher demand? Does that mean you need to raise the price?
The winners in this game are scanning their competitors multiple times a day for this information. They act on the changes — immediately. Being able to monitor entire e-commerce stores can also tell you whether there's a product your brand should be offering that it's not. No more missed opportunities.
More Powerful Than an Army of Mystery Shoppers
Data-focused businesses replaced their army of mystery shoppers with a full tech stack to collect the right data and turn it into a structured form. With the recent addition of AI tools, data can be immediately turned into natural language that you can use as a real-time report to react to when it comes to customer reviews, sentiment, stock and pricing information. There are endless use cases for competitive data; the question is what do you want to do with it?
Omri Orgad is the chief customer officer of Bright Data, a web data platform.