Is money the only thing you’re collecting from customers? If so, that’s a foolish mistake you’re making there. You also need to make sure you’re collecting data.
It may not seem that important to you now. But data is absolutely essential in building a competitive business these days. Besides, the more data you collect, the more customers you’ll be able to get. Which means that, in the end, you’ll be collecting even more money anyway!
The types of data you should get
So how much data is out there that’s relevant to your business? Quite a lot, actually. But there are two types that you really need to focus on. Those types are personal data and transactional data. Personal data includes age, gender, profession, as well as basics like names and addresses. Transactional data is generated when customers purchase something from you. What are they buying? How often? At what price? At what time of the year, or week, or day?
How to get it
Any time a customer makes an interaction with you or your website, data is created that you can collect. Some of it will be obvious. Having a customer fill out an HTML form on your website will see the entered info stored immediately on your server. Introducing analytical tools to your web development practices will help you keep track of the usage of your website. This will help you with data that determines how users are interacting with your business.
Where and how you should store it
You weren’t thinking of just pasting it all into an Excel spreadsheet, right? Not only is that pretty inefficient, but it’s also not going to do you much good. You need a data management platform that is tailored towards your business needs. Excel is good for some basic tasks. But defining data structures and tracking audit trails aren’t things it really excels at. (Eh? Eh? Har har.) Be sure to use the right platform if you want to be able to use that data effectively.
Keeping it protected
Once you have all that customer data, you need to make sure no-one else gets their hands on it. Corporate espionage could result in that data being leaked to another business for their own competitive use. Cybercriminals may try to hack into your database and steal data for their own financial gain. If you don’t want this kind of thing to happen, you’ve got to make sure your security measures are out of this world.
Making sure you’re on the right side of the law