In this digital age, every business generates loads of data, from product information to sales data and customer behavior patterns. However, almost all this data is raw and unstructured–it’s a gold mine waiting to be tapped. Understanding structured vs unstructured data can be the key to an eCommerce business’s success.
What does structuring this data offer you? For starters, you’ll get an edge over your competitors. But the real advantage comes from using this data to make informed decisions. With effective analysis, eCommerce businesses can gain insights about their customers and create bespoke marketing strategies and tactics.
So, what is structured vs unstructured data, and how does it impact your business performance? Let’s find out.
What Is Structured vs Unstructured Data?
Structured data is well-organized, formatted, and easy to sort and filter. As a result, it’s easier to read and understand. Structured data is factual and can be analyzed with automated tools. Also called quantitative data, it’s easy to decipher as well.
Unstructured data, however, is raw and unprocessed, which makes it difficult to understand. Even with the help of some tools, making sense of unstructured data can be challenging. Think log files, audio, and images. Due to the mixture of data types, organizing information becomes essential.
For an eCommerce organization, structured data is essential from multiple aspects:
- Better Search Results: Structured data leads to an improved click-through rate (CTR). When used correctly, it boosts your product’s visibility against the right search terms. Structured data analysis can also help you immensely improve the product information displayed on your website.
- Powerful Product Listings: In this attention economy, you only get a few seconds to capture a user’s attention. A rich product listing will help them make decisions faster. Using structured data, you can organize and display important information about your products. Analyzing this data will also help you share this information with the right audience through user-focused product listings.
- Personalized Recommendations: When you sort data, you can clearly segregate your target audience. As a result, it becomes easier to send product recommendations to the target audience according to their preferences.
While the benefits of structured data for eCommerce are clear, unstructured data is also useful. For instance, analysts have the creative freedom to extract information such as customer preferences and sentiments toward their brand and products. But again, extracting information from unstructured data can be challenging.
Let’s explore how both types of data are useful for your eCommerce business.
The Role of Structured Data in eCommerce
eCommerce websites have complex structures with multiple pages. So, Google crawlers must be told which pages to crawl and which to ignore. When presented in a machine-readable format, structured data makes it easier for Google crawlers to index the website and its pages.
Overall, this helps optimize product listings and search results. The purpose is to help Google understand your website with ease. Following the structured data approach, businesses can display accurate product information. Add this to the ability to understand customer behavior and preferences, and you can send personalized recommendations.
Structured data also provide rich results to visitors, allowing them to interact more freely with the website. Moreover, when you add structured data to the website, Google understands it faster.
The Impact of Unstructured Data on eCommerce Success
The ability to make quick and accurate decisions can be a deal-maker for businesses. But to make such decisions quickly, businesses must leverage data. In fact, not using all the data they’re sitting on is one of the most common mistakes B2B eCommerce businesses make.
Your eCommerce business gathers unstructured data from several sources every day: product reviews, social media, user-generated content, customer support interactions, and website clickstream data. The information collects in a big data lake.
But all too often, businesses either ignore this unstructured data, or they aren’t sure how to extract usable insights from it. This can lead to several missed opportunities. Just think of the rich information you could extract from this data and how your business might benefit from such valuable customer insights.
That’s why many eCommerce stores now invest in data analytics. Nearly 70% of business executives think data analytics will gain more importance in the next few years. One of the best uses for data analytics is identifying business process improvements and understanding customer behaviors. All this comes from getting a sense of the structured and unstructured data.
Use Data to Personalize Experiences
Unstructured data is like a 360º view of your customers. When used correctly, it provides a comprehensive picture, allowing you to approach shoppers in more creative and customized ways. Imagine the rapport you’ll build when your customers find products they need at the right time.
For an eCommerce business, personalizing the user experience is a basic service. In fact, your customers expect it:
- 73% of customers expect brands to understand their needs and preferences
- 83% of customers are ready to share their information willingly
- 50% of the world’s B2C marketing leaders plan to spend more to create personalized experiences for their customers
Personalization helps your customers better relate to your brand, so leverage social media, surveys, and data gathered from different sources to create custom experiences for your clients.
However, without processing unstructured data, implementing personalization campaigns will be a shot in the dark. It can lead to poor customer experience and impact your growth.
Best Practices for Using Structured and Unstructured Data in eCommerce
Both structured and unstructured data have their place in eCommerce. Maximize their benefits with the following best practices:
- Test and Implement: Google has a structured data testing tool. Use it when you’re not sure about the validity of your data. You can even use this tool to compare data on competitor sites.
- Add Review Markup: Review markup adds third-party application reviews that reflect on your products to your website. Enable it to give your customers a comprehensive product review.
- Create a Rich Catalog with Schema Markups: Schema markup is microdata. It creates a rich snippet for users. This description appears in search results and gives your brand a higher probability of clicks.
- Improve Customer Service: You can extract valuable insights from unstructured data, such as chat transcripts and customer reviews. These can be used to understand customer pain points.
- Identify Your Use Cases: Every industry can use data according to its unique requirements. Identify how you can use this data for your benefit and implement the best-fit measures.
Use Smart Merchandiser to Integrate Data Efficiently
Structured and unstructured data have unique applications for eCommerce businesses. By leveraging this data, you can create personalized user experiences that close more sales.
Smart Merchandiser lets you extract insights and information for your eCommerce business in a few easy steps. For one, our Analytics Management tool puts data analytics at your fingertips. You get unobtrusive data overlays that report everything from page views and abandonment rates to conversion rates. The result? Deeper analytics insights within the same dashboard.
Get in touch today to learn how Smart Merchandiser can help your eCommerce business leverage the unlimited power of data.