In 2010, Andrew Pole opened up about the information Target acquires and analyzes from their store's customer purchases. Their program utilized information about what products women were purchasing — and, based on this data, could recognize when they were pregnant.
By collecting and reviewing this information, Target could then suggest other products their customers might be interested in purchasing through more segmented and customized marketing campaigns.
And it's largely been a huge success since then. But what if you aren't a nationally branded organization with a power-team of 60 individuals compiling this data for you? Can predictive buying behavior still be an effective method of growing your business?
The short answer is yes. In fact, if you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may even be practicing this strategy without even knowing it.
Who Can Use Predictive Buying Behavior Data
Probably the most common types of businesses using this information on a regular basis these days are the ones selling products. Brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce shops can better understand their customers simply by looking at trends and patterns among previous purchases.
Just as Target recognized that women were pregnant based on purchases like baby monitors and wooden cribs, your own product-based business can make educated guesses about your customers by looking at their purchase history.
And if you own an e-commerce shop, take advantage of the opportunities to show "recommended" products — or follow Amazon's lead by testing out a "Customers who bought this item also bought" section on product pages of your website.
Tracking Behavior for Service-Based Businesses
However, these companies aren't the only ones who can evaluate this kind of data and use it to their advantage. Even if you offer a service to individuals or to other businesses, you can also better understand your clients with this same strategy.
As you prepare to move into the final quarter of 2018 and begin preparations for growth in 2019, it's important to start looking back on the last year by asking a few essential questions:
- What were your most popular services sold? Is this number different from your most popular service inquired about? If so, what might that mean?
- Out of all the leads you acquired this year, which types of people or companies were most likely to purchase in the end? For those that didn't purchase, what were the common objections or reasons for going a different direction?
- Have you noticed any trends in what additional services your clients were looking for after they had already purchased a service from you in the past? Are these services ones you already offer? If not, are they ones you want to start offering? Or is there an opportunity for a referral partnership or affiliate revenue here?
Don't be afraid to dive in deep here. The better you understand your customer's buying habits, interests and needs, the greater chance of success you'll have in growing your revenue year over year.