One interesting observation contained within Techaisle’s 2016 SMB & Midmarket Analytics Adoption survey results is the relationship between sales channel and analytics strategy. The survey of 1,116 US SMBs found that a higher percentage of businesses with an omni-channel approach that includes both online and offline sales channels are using analytics than those relying entirely on either online or offline sales. In fact, overall, 85% of omni-channel SMBs are using analytics and 38% are using big data solutions. On the planned side of the equation, another 46% of omni-channel SMBs are investigating use of big data technologies. Even the average spending on analytics by omni-channel SMBs is 3X that of eCommerce only SMBs and 6X of those that do not sell online.

Data illustrates that nearly 60% of SMBs (and almost three-quarters of midmarket firms) employing an omni-channel strategy are already using analytics to track website hits – a rate that is higher than for firms using ecommerce-only, and much higher than for firms that do not use online sales.

Another set of data adds context to this focus on website tracking. Omni-channel businesses tend not to be using particularly advanced approaches to analytics:

• 39% use “descriptive” analytics, and
• 30% have deployed “predictive” or “prescriptive” analytics.

However, omni-channel firms do tend to have some type of strategy – only 5% report that their use of analytics is ad hoc, vs. 13% of ecommerce-only firms and 18% of firms with no online sales.

The current analytics solution deployment & usage differs greatly from future plans within the omni-channel SMBs.  

Survey data shows that currently 75% of omni-channel SMB firms are using data visualization tools like Tableau and Qlik in addition to using database oriented tools (structured data) such as Information Builders, Hana and Cognos. But the future is different. Marketers looking to target this group will want to highlight analytics solution capabilities/components that are on the omni-channel business roadmap: web-based tools including statistical dashboards that are built into web-based applications, ETL, programming languages such as Python and R, and workflow and optimization.

The combined results contain an interesting message for analytics suppliers. Omni-channel SMB firms represent an active potential marketplace, one with expressed need and an analytics strategy. These companies absolutely need solutions that can work with click stream data. However, they do not, for the most part, need especially sophisticated technology. The sales approach should emphasize predictive/prescriptive as future options, not as means of addressing current requirements.