Online sellers fail to use own data to improve business performance

Online sellers are using e-commerce solutions to gather better data insights, yet many are failing to use it to make better business decisions, new research by Sana Commerce has found. Whilst 42% are using data to improve customer service, only 24% are using data for buying behaviour analysis and two thirds are not using it to improve the user experience. 

The survey of 559 global B2B organisations found that many are still only focused on using e-commerce for sales and improving online shopping for customers – traits associated with e-commerce 1.0 and 2.0. 48% identified driving sales as the top priority for their e-commerce solution and 38% said it was to improve the user experience. Despite having data available at their fingertips, online sellers are not using their data to achieve desired business performance outcomes. The main response to tackling competition is competing on price (47%) and increasing the online customer experience (38%) rather than enhancing the proposition. Only a third said they would use data to improve personalisation and 26% said they would use data to improve targeting and account-based marketing. 

Many online sellers seem to be overlooking the true value of e-commerce 3.0 and improving integration with key business systems such as the ERP to drive broader business benefits. In fact, improving organisational efficiencies, changing technology infrastructure and improving integration and workflow automation with partners and customers all came last in the list of objectives for B2B businesses implementing or operating an e-commerce solution. 

Despite appearing slow to adopt e-commerce 3.0, many online sellers are embracing new technologies in a bid to advance their digital transformation, and machine to machine (M2M) ordering is seen as a possibility for 54% of respondents. However, with data seemingly having a minimal impact on operations and decisions for e-commerce businesses, it’s possible that this technology is not being used to the best of its ability. 

Michiel Schipperus, CEO and managing partner at Sana Commerce, comments, “It’s encouraging to see online sellers building on their digital transformation strategies and considering the implementation of these advanced technologies, but it’s important to first establish how they can be implemented strategically. E-commerce 3.0 has enabled better integration between internal systems as a growth strategy and way to improve businesses agility. M2M and other forms of automation represent a significant investment, so e-commerce businesses need to ensure they’re being used to their full potential and improving key business drivers.”

The survey of B2B organisations in Europe and the US was undertaken by independent market research company Sapio on behalf on Sana Commerce. The survey sample covered food and beverage, automotive, construction, healthcare/medical supplies, electronics, fashion and apparel, home goods and furnishing, machinery and supplies or packaging industries.

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