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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>