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 New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>