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    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Smarter Writer
    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Data analytics is often associated with enterprise-level resources. But there are a wide variety of ways that small and medium-sized business can leverage data insights to serve their customers better.

    Woman processing sale with credit card

    Research shows that 72% of consumers expect businesses that gather their data, like their name and purchase history, to use it to provide them with a good service.

    Kevin Doyle, Regional Vice President of Salesforce, tells us that a “constant, customer-centric approach is the lifeblood of any small to medium business”. Using data to create meaningful connections with customers is just one strategy he recommends when competing with larger organisations. “Delivering outstanding service and knowing your customer is what gives small business an advantage over big spending, larger competitors," he says.

    So how can you use data in meaningful ways as a small to medium-sized business? Here are three simple ideas.

    Track total cost of purchases over time

    You can incentivise repeat business by tracking a customer’s total spend over multiple transactions. For example, fitness supplement supplier VPA Australia offers a tiered reward program to repeat customers, letting them ‘unlock’ perks like product discounts and free shipping offers when they reach certain spending totals.

    Similarly, Melbourne-based fashion label Alpha60 rewards customers who spend more than $1,000 over multiple purchases with a gift card they can use for their next purchase. This approach can tap into the psychological benefits of gamification strategy, encouraging customers to return for repeat business.

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    Identify complementary items 

    You can also use a customer’s purchase history to suggest complementary items for their future transactions. This style of cross-selling can be especially effective online, where data can be leveraged to make connections between multiple individual products. For example, online coffee retailer Alternative Brewing pairs sales with tailored recommendations – like filters to match specific models of coffee grinders.

    Using data insights to make links between products can help you to anticipate a customer’s needs before they’re even aware of them themselves.

    Use dates to your advantage

    Key dates can be useful tools to encourage repeat business. This is equally true of routine transactions, such as recurring hairdressing appointments for returning customers, as well as less frequent events – like annual car services. For example, a hairdresser could automate email reminders that are sent eight weeks after a customer’s last appointment, encouraging them to make a new booking.

    Customer data to do with dates can also be used to encourage consumer spending. For instance, if you capture personal details during a sign-up then you have the opportunity to create individual discount offers for milestones like membership anniversaries or birthdays.

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