Collecting data for E-commerce
9 min readJul 14, 2016

It’s said that there is no more valuable information for a marketer than …information, which gives knowledge about customers. Companies don’t want to invest sick amounts of money into making costly marketing mistakes by not recognizing the customers’ needs properly.
Here, we’re going to examine how useful it is to collect all the possible data about every single user for E-commerce business.

We’ll answer three major questions:

  • Why is it more important to gather information about single users instead of collective data about all of them?
  • What kind of knowledge does this analysis provide with?
  • How should this knowledge be used to predict users’ behavior?

Fancy a coffee?

Before moving on to the answers, let’s start from imaging that we’re sitting in a little coffee shop next in one of the narrow streets of your town. Mr. Green, the owner, is a very wise man, who assumes that knows what his customer knows. He can’t be mistaken because he’s been in this business for over 20 years! That’s why, he is more and more concerned because his sales drastically dropped in the last quarter and he has no idea whatsoever what the problem is.
His nephew pays him a visit and offers his help in solving this issue. He starts with a simple question “When does your customers come to your shop?”.
Mr. Green hasn’t put much thought into it and can’t actually give him any precise time periods that his customers drop in for their favorite drinks.
The man start to write down literally everything that happens in the coffee shop and is connected to the customers.

Firstly, they figure out that the rush hours, when the coffee shop is completely packed, are between 8–11am and 1–5pm. But there is hardly anyone after 5.30 pm. The time has a direct impact on what kind of items customers decide on: before lunch time it’s usually a drink plus a sweet pastry whereas after lunch time brings more savory snacks together with drinks.

Secondly, it turns out that women tend to buy more milky drinks (latte, cappuccino) and men — Americano and tea. On top of that, it seems that women resign from extra charged soy milk and decide on a smaller drink with full-fat milk.

Both men draw conclusions that they should definitely lower the price of soy milk which leads to boosting the sales of larger drinks (it seems that women are more keen on buying a larger drink in a healthier option); and announce a happy hour between 5 and 6 pm where all the drinks are half the full price; and offer a 10% discount on pastries before lunch.

Mr. Green is able to improve the customers’ experience and eventually, boost the sales (let’s be honest. That’s the point of running a business!) by collecting the data about what his customers do in his shops. Or something, what they don’t do. It all means knowledge which is the most precious asset, an owner can ask for.

User analytics

Now, time to go back to the online sphere.As we can see, the key to boosting the sales is truly understand customers’ behavior, their preferences and tendencies, which allows a company to find answers to problems they have. E-commerce focuses on not only finding the answers but also predicting what they are going to do on a given website and what kind of solutions they can be interested in. It is all possible if there is enough data about their activities on the website

Let’s suppose that every single visitor of your website leaves a footprint by doing something or … nothing. That’s correct. If a user doesn’t open a link that you send him, it gives a clear sort of message that the person is not interested in this particular information of form of communication. Knowing that, it’s a good idea to amend it.

You would say that there are way too many visitors on the website, which makes it impossible to interact with them individually with personalized messages and it all leads to loosing their attention and abandoning your website. Don’t worry because there is a solution for that.

Personalize and automate the content on your website and in your messages thanks to a detailed Users Analytics, which is an analysis of what a specific user does on your website: viewed pages, performed actions and all communication channels used.

Why is it more important to gather information about single users instead of collective data about all of them?

Collecting the data on every user in one particular place helps to neatly organize the history of his actions on your website. You can clearly see what specific pages were visited by him, which gives you very valuable information on his preferences and helps to predict his behavior in the future. It’s not about general statistics that give you a broad overview on everybody. A detailed data collection on each user enables you to engage them in such a way that a relationship is formed.

What kind of knowledge does this analysis provide with?

The analysis allow you to see what your user is looking for on your website. Whether, he/she is interested in red or blue shoes. Or maybe struggles with pricing and eventually abandons the website. You can know all of this if you check the person’s detailed actions.

How should this knowledge be used to predict users’ behavior?

Use this knowledge to find the very best solution to your user’s problem. If you see that your user looks at different blog posts on interior design, you can send him an email on the newest trends of interior design together with a kind offer to help if any help is needed. It all builds a relationship with a user and engages him more.

Let me illustrate it on practical examples.

Case study 1.

If there is a newcomer on your website whose location and language you can identify based on his IP and information about his browser. It turns out that the person comes from NYC, USA and speaks English. What’s more, you enter his profile and see that he’s visited three different blog posts, where he stayed for about 10–15 minutes. It gives you a clue about what kind of knowledge he seeks. When he enters another post, you can automatically show him a form:

  • “Hi! I see that you’ve been looking at our posts on the summer shoe trends. Maybe you will like the post on …. ? “

After seeing this, the user decides to clicks and he’s redirected to a given blog post. Woohoo, he is more and more engaged! Don’t stop here. Show him another form after getting to the middle of the text:

  • “Do you like the post so far? If your answer is YES, here is a free ebook on …for you. Let us email it to you. Your email …. “

The user decides to give the email address (a new channel to communicate) and now, you know his name (John), and surname (Smith), his company name (because he gave a company email address), which you directly connected to his social media profile on Linkedin to find out his profession. It’s a great source of knowledge about his revenues.

John starts browsing your website and you specifically see what kind of pages he visits. It seems that he really likes brown, leather shoes in size 11, which price range is between $100 and $125.

Let’s send him an email:

  • “Hi John, thanks for being with us! I’ve prepared a personalized list of recommendations for you. It seems that you may fancy leather shoes like this: …. “

John enters the website and checks the shoes you’ve sent him a link to. Automatically, a Live Chat message appears:

  • “Hi John, I’m here to help you find the best pair of shoes!”

John wants to find out about the durability of the material so he asks about it. He finds the information helpful and decides to buy a pair of brown, leather shoes.

By having his credit card information, your knowledge about John has broaden. However, there is a problem. After sending him a parcel, it turns out that John may seek help because he enters “Help Section” on your website multiple times. You can see in his profile that he visits “Shipment” section three times in just 15 minutes. Send him an email:

  • “Hi John, I see you’ve visited our Help Section. Are you struggling with getting the delivery on time? Let me know and I’ll do my best to solve the problem”.

It turns out that John’s parcel hasn’t been sent yet. Let him know about the situation and offer a discount to his next purchase as an apology. Show him that he is special for you. Eventually, he receives the parcel and writes an online review that despite the problems, the Customer Service was always there to help, which solved all the issues. And of course, the shoes were just perfect :-)

Case study 2.

There is a user on your website, who decides to give you the email address to receive the newsletter. Now, you know that the person’s name is Ann and, she is from France. Let’s welcome her with a personalized email in French:

  • “Bonjour Ann! Thanks for being with us.
    Let me show you how awesome recipes you can find on our blog … “

Guess what?

You can track her activity and you see that she’s opened the mail but hasn’t reacted to it. That’s why, after two days you send her another email saying:

  • “Tu nous manques (we miss you!). Let us know if there is anything that we can do to help you get most out of our website.
  • We are here for you!”

Ann enters your website and starts browsing your products. She even adds something to the cart — you see everything from her profile. Every single event she performs (something she clicks, opens, closes etc) and each page she visits. So, you discover that she abandons the cart. She hasn’t finished the purchase.

Send her a personalized follow-up mail:

“Hi Ann, I see that you really liked our book “XYZ”. I assume that you had some problems with finishing the purchase. Let me help you. Just simply enters the page and the Customer Support with assist you there”

It’s a good idea to write the messages in a simple, clear and coherent way. Don’t overload your users with too much information. Nobody wants to write essays … :-)

Case study 3.

You have a newcomer on your website, who keeps coming back but only to read your blog posts. You can see in the profile that the person is interested in a specific field (let’s say, recipes on desserts) and instead of bugging the person with offers, send another post.

The person automatically receives a Live Chat message when visiting the blog again:

“Hi, I see that you like our dessert recipes :-). You might also like this one: … I heard that the brownies are the best!”

The person is more and more engaged, which can be seen in her page views.

Next time she enters the website, let’s show a form:

“Hi! Did you like the recipe you got from us last time? Download our ebook on … Just write your email and you’re all set!”

She leaves the email and now, you know that her name is Mary, she is from Boston, and what’s more important — you know her preferences. You know what kind of blog posts she has already read.

Send her a follow-up mail:

“Hi Mary. I see that you checked our awesome recipes on brownies. Did you know that we provide you with great cooking facilities like this one … to help you bake faster?”

Congrats. You turned Mary from an anonymous user to a paying customer!


Instead of investing all your time and money into increasing the traffic from the outside to your website, take a deeper insight on what the already present users are currently doing here. Engage them with personalized messages that you can create based on particular information from a person’s profile.

The solution of gathering and storing data about specific users in one single place is a real thing for E-commerce. Because knowing what pages a person views and taken actions, is a great advantage because not only do you learn about the user’s needs but you are also able to predict his/her future behaviors. It all leads to boosting sales. General statistics don’t give you such an ability to analyse a specific user. You can learn about general tendencies and whether you’re targeting a right group of people.

As a result, a detailed profile of specific user’s actions and events is a key to success in understanding the needs, finding the solution and creating a relationship between you and your customers. You keep an eye on what’s happening on your website, which makes it possible to interact with the users in a personalized way. You know how important it is to make your users happy — it’s the only way to make them happy customers too :-).

Marta Debska Saas Implementation Project Manager



Marketing Automation platform designed for SaaS, E-commerce and Digital Businesses: