Ever wonder how the competition seems to always be progressing? Are they masters in predicting your next moves, or do they have a prophet on their team who can accurately predict what the market will do next? Most likely, they use predictive analytics to forecast customer behavior and help them move in the direction of the market demand before anyone else.
What Is Predictive Analytics?
Predictive analytics is a division of advanced analytics focusing on the study of historical data to forecast trends and future behavior of the market. By employing techniques in statistical analytics, data mining and machine learning, you can develop predictive models and quantify the likelihood of a particular simulation happening.
Fig. 1. Increase in conversion rate with the help of predictive analytics
Here are the benefits of utilizing predictive analytics in your business:
- Understand customer behavior.
- Improve inventory efficiency.
- Gain a competitive edge.
- Develop stronger marketing campaigns.
- Satisfy customer expectations.
Predictive analytics allows businesses to interpret both structured and unstructured data. Structured data falls under quantitative data while unstructured data is categorized under qualitative info. The age, gender, income, address and civil status are some of the data that can be readily used for analysis. On the other hand, customer feedback, user opinions and survey responses are more varied and are harder to classify under a specific category, thus being unstructured.
It’s easier to gather structured information because they mostly consist of readily observable data. They are also easier to input in predictive analytics software, as they can be sorted into specific fields instantly. Taking into account unstructured data, on the other hand, can be a bit more challenging. Fortunately, there is a better way to analyze and translate them into useful information that can affect business decisions.
Mystery Shopping as an Alternative
It isn’t always necessary to deal with the complexity involved in implementing predictive analytics methods. Instead, you can launch a reliable mystery shopping program like the one SeeLevel HX provides and still gain forecasted consumer trends for your brand.
Here’s how you can use mystery shopping as an alternative to any predictive analytics tool.
1. Understand customer behavior.
Predictive analytics entails mapping out consumer behavior and drawing out conclusions to predict future actions. By feeding quantifiable data in statistical software, you can forecast the future buying patterns of customers.
A mystery shopping service coupled with market research capabilities can do the same and more. SeeLevel HX, for one, uses tools and metrics that allow us to determine the quality of customer experience your brand provides. In addition to these, it’s easy for our mystery shoppers to gather quantifiable customer data for analyzing consumer demographics.
SeeLevel HX also provides actionable insights on our findings on customer behavior. Not only will this give you a comprehensive view of how customers are reacting to your brand but also provide you with action plans you can readily take into account in your next business planning session. Predictive analytics will give you the likelihood of a certain trend happening while reports from a mystery shopping service can answer the “why” of changes in buying patterns. This is more in-depth as you get to understand what customers need and see things from their perspectives.
2. Improve inventory efficiency.
There may be times when you’ll experience a low supply of an item highly demanded by your customers, resulting in business loss because you weren’t able to serve all customers. This problem stems from the lack of ability to forecast the influx of orders before it happens. Customers who often find themselves leaving your store empty-handed will be dissatisfied and will look for another brand that can meet their needs. Aside from losing a client, you’ll receive a bad reputation for not having the right items at the right time.
With the help of predictive analytics, you can gain awareness on the production and delivery rates of certain items in your inventory, as well as the possibility of failing to meet customer demands. Taking pre-emptive action before a problem even arises is a capability not many businesses are able to successfully implement.
Alternatively, a mystery shopping service can give you valuable comprehension of consumer needs, allowing you to detect early which items in your inventory should be increased in supply or which of them should be removed for non-performance. You’ll be able to contact suppliers beforehand for extra allocations, giving your inventory a boost when demand is high.
3. Gain an edge over your competitors.
Predictive analytics may not be able to forecast what your competitors will do. However, using the data gathered with it, you can deduce the strengths of your brand over the competition.
Mystery shopping can do more than predictive analytics in identifying your edge over competitors. You can conduct mystery shopping activities on your rivals and gauge how their business is doing compared to yours. By matching your practices with theirs, you’ll have a clear view of why customers are choosing your brand over them or possibly the other way around. Highlighting your major selling points and incorporating the competition’s profitable practices can enhance brand recognition and improve customer loyalty.
4. Develop improved marketing campaigns.
You’ve just developed a product and launched a full-scale marketing campaign to promote it to the public. To your dismay, the customer turnout is way lower than expected. The product is perfect, well-tested and compliant with the results of your market research, leaving you wondering where gaps in your delivery occurred.
It’s possible that your marketing strategy is misguided and you’re not hitting the right buttons to catch the attention of your consumers. With predictive analytics marketing, you can have a better understanding of customer behavior and get definitive data on when, why, how and what promotional methods are most effective to them.
Mystery shopping also gives the same advantage as predictive analytics marketing by supporting the building of customer profiles. Market research agencies like SeeLevel HX can analyze the demographics and behavior of your consumer market using methods designed for market analysis. Our database of 792,000 mystery shoppers, on the other hand, can determine the parts of your marketing campaign that appeal to them as consumers and which of them needs to be improved or removed altogether. Using all the data gathered on your consumers, you’ll be able to craft and implement specific marketing efforts and direct them towards the appropriate customer group. This method maximizes the resources spent and gives you a higher conversion rate than before.
5. Satisfy customer expectations.
Predictive analytics gives you a better picture of who your customers really are, what they need and what they expect from your brand. This data provides the opportunity to offer something tailored to customer preferences. By tracking purchase history, you can infer shopping patterns that will give you an understanding of which offers you should recommend to customers on their next visits.
Mystery shopping gives you the same effect by providing insights on what customers currently need and what they think you should start offering. Mystery shoppers are customers themselves, which is why they know exactly how your clients feel every time you interact with them.
Because of this, mystery shoppers are also a part of the force that dictates market trends. Their inputs and experiences can make you more sensitive to trend changes, allowing you to quickly adapt to emerging customer needs.
Quality vs. quantity
Predictive analysis can be an ongoing process because market trends are always changing. Current customer behavior this year might be different from last year and present trends might head into a new direction next year. Predictive analytics allows you to stay up-to-date with consumer preferences. At its best, it can help you get a head start in understanding the needs of the market long before your competitors realize that the trend has changed.
Mystery shopping services can also provide the same benefits as utilizing predictive analytics tools. Conclusions and assumptions resulting from a mystery shopping program are based on both structured and unstructured data, providing a comprehensive view of customer needs, behavior and expectations. More than this, you’ll gain insights from actual customers and guided secret shoppers.
You can experience the same benefits offered by predictive analytics and more with our mystery shopping programs. Let’s discuss which program best suits your brand. Contact us for more information.