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 cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

10.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>