Most small and midsized business owners are intimidated by big data. They think that this technology only applies to large corporations that have teams of data scientists at their disposal. According to a 2020 survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) led by the Singapore Institute of Technology, around 70 percent of respondents are not adopting any data analytics solutions. Most stick to the tried-and-tested spreadsheets and databases without taking advantage of cloud-based technologies.
However, business intelligence for small businesses is absolutely critical to success. Data analytics can provide detailed information that can guide business decisions, including strategy, production, operations, and marketing. What the disruptions of the past several years showed us is that clinging to the traditional ways of operating can end up in great losses. To evolve and adapt to the ever-changing market trends and conditions, small businesses need to leave their Excel sheets behind and join the cloud data migration.
Use cases of big data analytics for small businesses
One thing needs to be clarified first. Big data alone will not help small businesses transform their strategies overnight. It’s vital for SMEs to first analyze their existing processes, the types of data they already have, and the technologies that will best analyze these datasets and turn them into meaningful action points.
Let’s look at some of the available business intelligence solutions for small businesses.
Smart inventory management
One of the current biggest challenges for global businesses is the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. Shipping delays and labor shortages have caused stockouts. On the one hand, this is particularly critical for small businesses that don’t have access to large warehouses to store supplies and products. On the other hand, there are instances when vendors overdeliver, and small businesses end up with spoiled goods.
With data analytics, small businesses can:
- set stock levels for critical goods to prevent sold outs
- trace their warehouse deliveries and errors
- set accurate product descriptions
- optimize stocks based on weather forecasts, customer feedback, and global supply chain issues
The entire ordering process can also be streamlined so that there are no lags and customers can receive their purchases on time or early.
Intuitive customer service and experience
How customers interact with small business websites is critical to understanding user experience. These are some of the customer behavior questions that big data analytics can answer:
- What are the product pages that clients visit the most?
- How long do they stay on certain pages?
- Are chatbots fulfilling expectations and answering queries accurately?
- Are the algorithms recommending appropriate products and services?
Relying on customer feedback is no longer enough. Understanding the underlying buying patterns and behavior of customers will help small businesses improve their website designs, products, post-purchase service, and customer relationship building. Knowing the customer’s needs will also help small enterprises launch targeted marketing campaigns that are relevant.
There are three ways that small businesses can use data science for market intelligence and anticipating customer needs and wants. The first is to collect consumers’ buying information, including the methods of purchase (via smartphone or tablet, for example) and even the specific time when purchases are high. This way, small businesses know when to conduct sales, and even which products can be bundled together.
Next, data analytics can help in sentiment analysis, particularly in social media:
- What are customers saying online about the business, and what do they feel toward their purchases?
- Are there any products that they wished were available?
- How do they compare the company’s products with competitors?
The important thing to remember is that this information needs to be translated into action. For example, are there products that need to be reformulated, rebranded, or repackaged?
Finally, big data can be used to evaluate marketing campaigns and determine the activities that generate the most client engagement. Is it giveaways or being active on specific social media platforms? Additionally, by knowing how to effectively interact with their target markets, small businesses can anticipate emerging trends.
How AI Superior can help
Do you want to explore how data analytics can help your small business grow and reach out to more customers? We can help you set up custom-based solutions that will give you all the information you need to bring your business to the next level. Our services and solutions can address the challenges of implementing data science in your workflows, supply chains, and business strategies, including data collection and analysis. By taking into consideration all the factors that affect your business, we can tailor a customized AI solution that addresses all your needs.