Turning big data into smart data – how to make insights actionable

With the growth of ecommerce comes a wealth of customer data. The challenge within businesses is to correctly analyse the data, use it to effectively communicate with your customer and then capitalise on the opportunities provided.

Within the FMCG industry and the online grocery world, customer data is crucial in understanding who your shopper is, what products they are looking for and when they are looking for it. Real-time, trackable results can provide insight into the success of your campaign and the ability to change it if it’s not working.

Using data-driven testing on desktop, mobile devices and even social media can provide highly accurate insights into customer behaviour. The next step is to properly analyse the data and use it to engage users in real-time. Kim Ludlow, Managing Director of supermarket shopping and comparison website mySupermarket.co.uk explains how to understand complex customer data, utilise it to target customers and create ROI.

  1. Understand there’s a customer behind the data

Having a wealth of data but not using it intelligently renders it useless. Segmenting your database is not a new concept, but understanding it is still a challenge.

Key to success is understanding your data set needs to be about your customer, about people. How does your brand relate to people?

Curating and organising your data gives you a complete view of your customer. It can be used to analyse their behaviour, better understand who actually buys your product, when they buy it and what else they buy it with.

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com

The best way of curating your data is understand the human element – just who are they? Look at their demographics. Can you tell their motivators, average income, age, sources of influence? On a basic level you should know their age, gender and location (where possible). If you are able to, you could see their ethnicity, family and marital status, employment status, income level, lifestyle, interests, who influences purchasing decisions, behaviours, how they interact with your brand and what they want from you.

To determine who are your most valuable customers, find out their average purchase size. How much are they spending with you on a typical purchase? Look at value, not just price. Determine if you can sell to them any further by using promotions. Can you help develop awareness and interest in other products?

You should also understand how happy they are with your brand. What influences them to purchase? When you understand there’s a customer behind the data you can analyse their behaviour and results and apply it to your strategic goals.

  1. Use taxonomy testing to show how shoppers purchase their products

taxonomy testing

Using data to show how shoppers make their purchases is a great way to understand your data and use it to best effect.

Taxonomy is a crucial element of ecommerce. If you want to sell products online they need to be readily available via search.

Much of this lies in maintaining a thorough product category taxonomy, the hierarchy for organising a product catalogue in a way for a customer to browse to the desired product in as few clicks as possible.

If you’re a manufacturer whose products are stocked across multiple retailers, you will find each maps their own product categories, meaning each taxonomy is different. And, ultimately, each customer on each different platform will find your products in a different place.

Mapping your products across all channels, platforms and retailers can be a big, tedious effort but it’s very important.

If you are able to, work with retailers to understand what helps a shopper find you, or your competitors. Understand how you are represented within search. How do you fare on category pages? Are you on the first page? Are you – ultimately – findable?

Within your own site, the benefits of retail taxonomy are far reaching. When you better understand what your customer wants, you can be more responsive to query and deliver better results. You can deliver them very specific results that may have derived from a basic search.

Helping your customer make decisions helps your website become more intuitive and a better place to visit. And of course, directly impacts on sales!

  1. Fix the basics

Unsurprisingly if you want to capture data and use it effectively, you should make sure your all your channels are operating at their optimum. What is surprising though, is that many brands don’t fully understand how they are represented across various retailers.

Using basic data to inform detail about the positioning of your products, how their descriptions sit online or if they’re represented by the correct images is crucial.

Run an online health check. Plug the digital gaps. An online audit report will help you understand your brand, category and SKU levels, along with product availability too.

  1. A/B testing

You have the potential to increase your conversion rates by testing your strategies and campaigns and finding out which techniques work.

A/B testing is a highly effective way to increase sales and encourage traffic. If you A/B test, you can use the data received from the testing to better understand your customers.  


Elements to test can be varied. You could look at calls-to-action, layout on the page, images, colours, pricing and promotions. Regardless of your test, quantify your results. Measure what alternative generated the better conversion rates and understand how and why this happened.


For more information and to speak to a mySupermarket Account Manager please contact us on solutions@mysupermarket.com