Top 6 Ecommerce Business Intelligence Tools in 2020
Find out about the ecommerce business intelligence tools to keep an eye on in 2020, and learn more about their features.
What makes a good company a great one? At the start of the new decade, we can surely say that what makes leaders win is their ability to ask the right questions, process the answers, and act on them. That’s why BI tools became an indispensable part of many businesses, often regardless of their size and annual revenue.
Why Is Business Intelligence Relevant for Ecommerce?
According to the survey of 2,856 users, consultants, and vendors by Business Application Research Center, BI is still increasingly demanded in 2020, and multiple successful use cases of big data in ecommerce prove it. In particular, the most trending areas are master data and data quality management, data discovery and visualization, and establishing a data-driven culture.
Investing in data analytics, companies go beyond simple calculations of customer numbers, costs, and revenue. Instead, using algorithms and formulas, they gain a deep understanding of the underlying patterns, which results in predicting customers’ behavior and buying propensity.
Ecommerce is a kind of industry that vitally needs data analytics to find the answers. How effective is your advertisement? Do your customers reach their desired pages? Or does any element of navigation need to be improved? How price-sensitive are the customers? How responsive are they to your marketing campaigns? The abundance of customer information to process requires a thorough analytical approach powered with business intelligence tools.
But why employing a tool when the market is as rich in data experts as never before? Today, customers’ expectations are changing so fast one can barely trace them, and data processing, as well as data-driven decision making, appears to be a challenging task even for a team of in-house analysts. Analyzing your raw data, a BI tool saves time, reduces costs, contributes to decision making, as well as reveals opportunities you could have missed, and thus improves efficiency and unleashes the potential of your team. Moreover, a tool has an impersonal outlook on facts and can use them to make forecasts.
Today, the market is rich in business intelligence tools which can be used out of the box or as the basis for custom BI solutions, with many BI consultants specializing in ecommerce analytics. Besides, many BI tools that don’t address ecommerce in particular will still be a good fit for online businesses because of their simplicity and robustness of features.
Take a look at this guide to the ecommerce business intelligence tools worth looking at in 2020.
According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, Tableau is one of the most popular data analytics solutions, second only to Microsoft’s Power BI.
The Public version was successfully released 10 years ago, and Tableau Online became available three years later. Due to its user-friendly interface, the platform requires little effort to comprehend it, so even non-technical users can easily create custom dashboards and delve into a broad spectrum of data. That’s why Tableau has been among BI front-runners for so many years.
Tableau focuses mostly on data visualization, allowing users to analyze data through dashboards and views that congregate data from various sources. It can be integrated into an existing data infrastructure on-prem or in the cloud, which make up a major part of Tableau consulting, and then users can start exploring the data efficiently with simple drag-and-drop modules.
Why Tableau Is Great
Tableau is often compared to other BI tools on the market (we’ve even published our own review of Tableau vs QlikView), yet it has plenty of unbeatable features to offer. For example, it doesn’t require any advanced programming skills from end users. While there are scripts that can be used to enhance the experience, Tableau’s interface is intuitive and immersive, so non-tech users can easily work with it right away. All you need is the Tableau app that comes in web, desktop and mobile versions. The latter has native versions for both iOS and Android.
Tableau can also be easily integrated with other tools, for example, the Salesforce customer success platform, to embed analytical dashboards and graphs within their interfaces. It’s also easy to collaborate and comment on all the various projects that are stored in Tableau.
Why Tableau Is Great for Ecommerce
Ecommerce has much data that is granular and siloed, which means that it’s often hard to combine various sources to see the complete picture. Tableau provides a number of products, such as Tableau Prep or Tableau Mobile, available both separately and in one batch. They serve to save much of your time and effort on every step of the analysis: from preparing and combining data to creating colorful graphics and schemes.
Tableau’s Pricing Policy
Tableau has a pretty flexible pricing policy that starts with $12 per month for Tableau Viewer and goes up to conclude with custom prices for Embedded Analytics.
Microsoft Power BI
This is Microsoft’s take on how a BI and data visualization tool should look like. It is another regular leader of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platform, which contributes to the constant competition of Power BI vs Tableau.
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based solution, enabling users to analyze and visualize data with greater speed and efficiency. It works with content packs, pre-built dashboards, and many popular data service providers, which makes up for new easier ways of collecting data. Power BI can connect to various data sources on premises and in the cloud, and the data can be accessed from the web version and mobile app, or embedded into your system.
Why Power BI Is Great
One of the biggest advantages of this product is the fact that it comes with a free desktop version. Of course, it has limitations such as the amount of associated storage, but given that it’s free, the smallest stores wouldn’t mind this restriction. While it’s more complicated to generate BI dashboards in Power BI than in many other tools on this list, they make up for it by being extremely robust—the amount of data visualizations in Power BI is extensive. Another advantage of the platform is its ability to collect data from real-time sources and perform instant analysis.
When a company’s BI needs outgrow the capabilities of the limited desktop version, it’s possible to turn to either of the two subscription-based editions. Both Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium offer more diversified BI features while enabling employees to play with larger data sets, manage user access to particular data, as well as collaborate on reports and turn them into interactive presentations.
It should be said that Power BI is also included in the ready-to-use collaboration suites—such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365. So, whenever an ecommerce business gets the E5-level subscription of either, they can leverage the Power BI features with no additional fees.
However, this tool is more complicated to operate than tools dominating the visualization game, such as Tableau, so be ready to ask for professional assistance when it comes to Power BI integration.
Why Power BI Is Great for Ecommerce
Power BI is a perfect platform for ecommerce businesses that either start out with analytics or are ready to switch to advanced BI tools. The best thing about it is that Microsoft provides a wide range of useful educational materials. They will help your developers to set up BI dashboards with Power BI.
Power BI’s Pricing Policy
The prices vary from the annual subscription for $9.99 per user monthly to $4,995 per cloud compute and storage resource, billed annually.
This BI solution is similar in its general concept to the previous two, but with one significant difference: it works in-database and supports the most popular relational databases and warehouses (Redshift, PostgreSQL, etc.). This means that you’re getting real-time data through reports and dashboard generated by Looker, with no security risks, all completely browser-based, i.e. no software installations required.
Why Looker Is Great
Looker has its own ‘language,’ LookML, which allows any user to quickly build SQL queries without knowing any operators or having any data analytics experience. It features a flexible search functionality that will enable you to look for data just like you would on Google.
Why Looker Is Great for Ecommerce
It has specific modules (blocks, apps) that act like pre-built functions with specific tasks. So, you don’t have to code anything or create standard dashboards from scratch.
Also, there are functions explicitly designed for ecommerce stores. For example, there’s the brand and category affinity module, which shows correlations between brands and products that are interesting to people. This information can be used for cross-selling and upselling, which traditionally generate a big portion of revenue for ecommerce businesses.
Looker’s Pricing Policy
Looker doesn’t reveal their pricing policy. Instead, they offer custom pricing solutions to enterprises of different sizes and requirements.
This tool is famous for its interactive dashboards. It allows you to track and analyze data almost in real time. It might be a bit more complicated than Tableau, but only because the drag-and-drop functionality is rudimentary and mostly serves as a design feature. With Chartio, users can collect data from the most popular data sources, cloud or SSH tunnel, and then build SQL-like queries within the interface (AND, OR, ANY, etc.) and visualize them in interactive dashboards.
Why Chartio Is Great
Apart from being one of the most accessible data visualization tools, it allows people with some basic SQL knowledge to build advanced dashboards and share them with colleagues. These dashboards can be used for further data exploration and performance tracking. This is BI democratization at its finest.
Why Chartio Is Great for Ecommerce
Chartio has an extensive suite of available data sources that specifically target ecommerce businesses. For example, not many BI solutions can connect to Bing Ads, DoubleClick, Outbrain, and other exotic sources that are needed for an ecommerce business but will often be useless for other industries.
Chartio’s Pricing Policy
Chartio provides different pricing plans, such as Startup that will cost you $40 per user per month, and Premium, that includes a number of additional features at a custom price.
Sisense is an end-to-end, or full-stack, BI software platform. Unlike other BI tools, Sisense doesn’t require any add-ons for predictive analytics and is famous for its scalability. Its in-chip technology makes it possible to extract and process data from your own server’s cache, and process data extremely fast.
It’s also cost-effective if you choose to go for RAM as your data processing vehicle. In-chip resources can significantly offload RAM and lead to better resource management within your data warehouse. This makes it a product of choice for ecommerce businesses.
Why Sisense Is Great
It has many powerful features, like the one for automatic data recognition and blending data into a single coherent picture. Sisense has a flexible pricing policy, so smaller stores shouldn’t be discouraged to check it out. Also, it has an extremely intuitive interface, making access to data even easier across your organization.
Why Sisense Is Great for Ecommerce
In ecommerce, such unstructured data as clicks, likes, tweets, and more may play a significant role not only in analyzing the efficiency (or inefficiency) of your business, but also in forecasting customers’ attitudes and desires, as well as the outcomes of your decisions. That’s what predictive analytics deals with.
In particular, Sisense’s smart system collects and processes data concerning your customers’ past activity, and the result can be turned into more relevant products and services being offered to your customers.
Another reason for ecommerce business owners to take notice of Sisense is that this platform already has a variety of specific built-in dashboards, including the ones perfectly suitable for ecommerce. For example, the Retail Distribution Template has five dashboards that were created with the help of retail experts to allow clients to discover gaps in profitability right out of the gate. No advanced preparations on the part of your staff are required. If you’re running an ecommerce business that also has brick-and-mortar locations—this might be one of the best options for you.
Sisense’s Pricing Policy
Sisense provides flexible pricing, which depends on the number of users, project type, and data volume.
This is another heavy-weight ecommerce business intelligence tool that offers unprecedented access to business information for any user with or without prior BI experience.
Domo has a collection of more than 1,000 pre-built connectors to collect data from various cloud platforms, on-premises systems, flat files, or proprietary systems. Then the data can be transformed, normalized and visualized, so that users can get insights and make better decisions.
Updates, alerts, and reports generated by Domo are easy to share with coworkers. They become especially useful when you have a complex organization that spans multiple departments. This often eliminates the need to hold meetings and discuss performance because data is readily available to almost anybody.
Why Domo Is Great
One of the standout features of Domo is its Magic ETL, which is a set of tools that can help you generate data streams and present them in convenient formats. The suite is built around drag-and-drop functionality and can help you ‘grab’ data from anywhere and turn it into anything.
For example, Salesforce data can easily be blended with data from an Excel spreadsheet. Another feature that may come in handy is the ability to build your own apps based on the platform or collaborate with Domo on custom apps using your data.
Why Domo Is Great for Ecommerce
Domo provides incredible visibility into the entire ecommerce operational chain. For example, it has a suite of features designed specifically for supply chain management. The built-in predictive capability can point to specific seasonal trends and even provide supply chain predictions based on identified weather patterns. All this contributes to better operations, with no more stock-outs or unexpected demand spikes.
Domo’s Pricing Policy
Domo doesn’t have fixed pricing plans. Instead, they offer custom pricing plans that are determined on a case by case basis.
What to Choose for Your Ecommerce Business?
Remember that we only listed some of the leading BI solutions that particularly fit ecommerce needs. There are many other products in this niche. An excellent way to start would be to learn more about other products in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, one of the most authoritative studies of BI and analytics tools.
Eventually, it all depends on your requirements. Are you just looking to democratize access to data? Then Chartio should work for that. Are you looking to empower sales with better reporting tools? Then Domo can be the option, and so on. As said before, the recipe for success is asking the right questions.
If you’re not sure about the exact ecommerce business intelligence tool that would be perfect for your business—reach out to us, as we have years of experience in consulting on highly efficient and scalable BI solutions for ecommerce, as well as implementing them.
We’ll create a custom one for you.
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