According to an October 2014 Constant Contact survey of 1,200 small business participants, 79 percent of small businesses are using small data reporting and analytics to inform their business decisions. It’s important to note that the trend is toward using small data versus big data in order to give small businesses a competitive advantage in the market for this upcoming holiday season. Here are the major takeaway metrics from the study:
- Around 73 percent of small businesses believe data can help them grow their business by expanding their customer base.
- For this holiday season, those surveyed reported that they were using small data reporting and analytics in several different ways: 66 percent used it to identify which products and services to market, 52 percent used it to determine where to direct their marketing efforts, and 51 percent used it to determine when the best time to market was.
- However, 60 percent of respondents reported that they do not use big data tools, and 25 percent reported they are not sure if they use big data tools.
Of those surveyed, 75 percent of small business owners believe that using reporting and analytics will give them a business advantage, although 64 expressed interest in learning more about how to leverage data to better drive business growth. Interestingly, 19 percent reported not using data for several different reasons: not knowing where to begin (49 percent), not having enough time (40 percent), not having access to data (21 percent), and reporting expenses (4 percent). In the survey, 44 percent expressed a need to set up tracking systems for sales and customer data, with only 11 percent reporting that they are currently paying for analytics tools.
So what type of data are small businesses looking at?
- email marketing reports (83 percent)
- website analytics (64 percent)
- social media analytics (52 percent)
- sales trends (48 percent)
- current customer data (44 percent)
- sales receipts (43 percent)
Included in the survey were questions targeted at holiday revenue expectations. Interesting, most small businesses are less optimistic about the holidays this year, with only 45 percent expecting an increase in 2014 holiday revenues from 2013 (down from 65 percent in 2013). In addition, only 49 percent of small businesses surveyed think the economy will be stronger this holiday season (versus 2013). However, small businesses are more optimistic about their end of year revenue numbers overall, with 63 percent of respondents predicting that their annual revenues will exceed their 2013 numbers.