By Robert Cordray

In the past, business owners and the average person putting themselves out on the Internet had very little access to data that indicated the success or failure of their efforts. In most cases, they had to spend time and money on the services provided by data analysts in order to have optimal control over their own success. These restrictions are being eliminated with the advent of cloud computing. The world of e-commerce is quickly changing, becoming more accessible to the common person due to the availability of applications that crunch the numbers for them.

Let the Numbers Talk
Creators and owners of online stores now have applications at their disposal that will gather information on their development and give them direct feedback on such data. These popular platforms include Apps such as Shopify or Eventbrite. Shopify apps and other, similar cloud-based developments can work with a huge variety of platforms, optimizing data so that owners can make informed decisions about their future more easily. Applications such as DataHero have the ability to translate your relevant data into graphs, charts, and other forms of visualizations so that positive action can be taken that benefits the future of your e-commerce endeavors.

Looking at the Impact
The impact of applications such as these is seeming to have a ripple effect throughout the world of e-commerce at large. They are giving small vendors and business owners the ability to lower their costs of operations, respond to opportunities in the market more quickly, and deploy their developments more quickly and confidently. There is a wealth of data that these applications are making more accessible. This data includes product information, customer data, fulfillment information, and systems operations as well. This information is extremely valuable when it comes to allowing small business owners to develop a more complete picture of the momentum and characteristics of their business. Access to these kinds of tools also makes it easier for people to outline the future goals of their business, evaluate current objectives, and weigh the benefits or costs of their plans as they move forward.

Integrated Advantages
This new technology also increases the convenience of data analysis due to the fact that it can be completely integrated into most platforms that are popular on the e-commerce market today. Once integrated, the business results that you are experiencing can be known almost immediately. A huge part of ensuring the efficiency of any business is operating in as close to real-time as possible. These applications are also extremely affordable when compared to the costs of the traditional methods used to evaluate potential opportunity. The reduction in money required upfront by a business in order to acquire a tool that is aimed at its success frees up capital that can be put towards expansion. There is the advantage of scalability that is built into these applications. The possibility of new products or sales strategies can be evaluated for effectiveness from many different vantage points in terms of the potential impact that it can have for any given company.

Changing Customer Experiences
Another large impact that this technology is making includes leveling the playing field for individuals with little backing and experience in the field of online retail. In essence, the customer experience is being evaluated as a commodity that can be understood statistically in many different dimensions. As a result of this approach being open to anyone, online customers are beginning to expect professional, retail experiences with nearly every online vendor despite the fact that the online source is not necessarily an established, retail site. The key for many operators is to use these tools in order to hone in on many of the needs and specific customer expectations within their own industry or niche.

Making It Business Specific
People using this kind of software for an advantage in the world of e-commerce must also develop an understanding of the kind of models that they run and how the resulting data can be used to address specific business concerns. For instance, some software is better equipped to address infrastructure issues while others may be better-suited to address customer interactions and satisfaction. There are a variety of models out there, ranging in depth and complexity. A good approach for making decisions such as these includes evaluating the functions and features that are related to the specifics of your website. Your selling initiatives should determine the types of features and tools for which you are looking. Once you have these clouds applications working the side of your e-commerce, there is very little business information that is out of your reach. In most cases, a wealth of technical expertise is not required either. Some small amount of time invested in the grasping the parameters of software and the language that is commonly used is enough to equip you with the tools that you need to start seeing real results quickly.

Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. Follow him at @RobertCordray.