Google is the navigation for the Internet. The vast majority of retail purchases begin with search, and 70 percent of Australian retailers cited SEO as the most effective customer acquisition source (Source: Online Retailing In Australia 2010: Marketing, Merchandising, And Customer Service by Forrester).
Search data is a database of intentions. It tells us about peoples interests, attitudes, wants, needs and purchase intent. We can mine data to understand what people will do tomorrow, an activity Hal Varian has dubbed ‘predicting the present’. We understand a consumer’s intentions and predict their behaviour in real time. The sales and marketing opportunity is providing an exceptional customer experience that matches their intention.
Here’s an example of consumer behaviour discovered by correlating search data with credit card purchase data. Online ads receive the most clicks on Mondays. Online purchasing peaks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Purchasing intent demonstrated throughout the week, but peaking on Monday, is realised at physical stores on Fridays and Saturdays. So, by Monday, smart retailers know what people will be buying on Friday and Saturday.
How are you using search data to better understand your market and predict behaviour? If you can predict it, you can accommodate it and give people what they want. And sell more. And be more useful. And tell a better story.