Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Now Website Data Can Be Harnessed To Help Make Better Sales Forecasts

11.02.2004


Being able to predict customer trends has just become much easier thanks to new research sponsored by the ESRC into the use of website and other new media data.



A project led by Dr Bruce Hardie of the London Business School has resulted in the development of simple systems – or mathematical models – which can enable companies to describe, diagnose and forecast the behaviour of subscribers to these services.

Dr Hardie said: “Website operators are collecting volumes of data all the time on their customers’ behaviour in terms of buying goods and services. It has been easy up until now to track changes in total use over a period, but it is more challenging to understand what lies behind the figures.


The study reveals widely varied visiting rates among users of the information website, with the most frequent five per cent making 26 per cent of all visits and 30 per cent of all page views.

There were systematic fluctuations in weekday use, with activity tending to peak at the weekend. And some users appeared to ‘drop out’ over time, so that only 50.6 per cent of the 20,000 who visited the site during the first half of the period being observed did so in the second half.

The study says that variations in how customers use a website are driven by the number of visits and that the actual number of pages viewed on each visit appears to be stable over time.

Models produced by the research team reflect these findings, assuming for example that users will visit sites in a random way for a time and then become inactive.

Having produced their forecasting model, the team also applied it to data from the online CD retailer, CDWOW, and used it to forecast purchasing both as a whole and individually.

With built-in allowances for variations among individuals and subscribers in general, the models can be used to track and forecast accurately actual customer behaviour, say the researchers.

Dr Hardie continued: “Our mathematical models are valuable for those involved in a whole range of marketing and advertising activities.
"Being able to forecast customers’ future buying based on their past record is clearly important - it means managers can calculate which customers are likely to be active at any one time and so which to target.”

The new, simple systems, which are easy to apply widely, are relevant not just to websites but to any situation where customers’ buying behaviour can be captured, such as supermarkets.

“They provide researchers and those providing goods and services with an excellent framework for any customer or user-base analysis exercise to assess the performance and viability of certain web-based services,” said Dr Bruce.

"Our aim was to provide simple systems that are easy to implement and which are capable of generating accurate forecasts of how customers, both overall and as individuals, are likely to behave in the future."

For the study, researchers investigated the visits made by subscribers to a major UK information "content" website. Over 18 weeks, a total of 28,501 people visited the information website at least once. They made 104,254 visits, viewing a total of 869,812 pages and spending a total of 1,073,941 minutes at the site.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

nachricht Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bodyguards in the gut have a chemical weapon

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

20.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>