Amazon customers know it well: the “recommended for you” bars, showing products related to what you’ve searched for, what you’ve bought and, somehow, what you might want before you even know you want it. The tech behind it is called predictive analytics, and it’s an indispensable feature for anyone working in e-commerce, even in the promo products industry.
“Predictive analytics is growing in importance so you can monitor what customers are doing right now, and then you can give them immediate choices of things that are appropriate for that particular situation,” says Lynn Hunsaker of ClearActionCX. “It can be immediate in guiding you in what to say to the customer.”
Some companies, like Debco Solutions (asi/48885), are already using this functionality, albeit in a different way from Amazon’s style. “We employ it analytically and we do it face-to-face with our reps,” says Debco's Alex Morin. “It’s an extremely important part of our sales process, anticipating the needs of our customer by understanding their previous behavior. That’s done on a daily basis in a consultative manner.”
The Book Company (asi/41010) carries out predictive analytics on the retail side of its business, and then uses that information to inform what distributors might be interested in purchasing. So if the retail world is looking for a certain color, style or texture en masse, sales reps can suggest it as a new trend to distributors and mention it in marketing materials and on the website.
Morin thinks usage of this model will increase throughout the industry. “I think that more companies will invoke some kind of dashboard feature that allows customers to gain access to the insights that we see on a daily basis as a supplier,” he says.