How Companies Connect Your Online Browsing to Your Offline Purchases

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How Companies Connect Your Online Browsing to Your Offline Purchases

You’ve heard how companies or online retailers track your surfing habits. Data analytics companies collect and analyse billions of consumers and shoppers on the internet. These companies then present this online behaviour data for their clients to enable them to understand their consumers’ demands, trends and competitors performance.

Have you ever wondered though how these companies actually connect your online browsing to your offline purchases and real name?

 

DATA COMPANIES TRACK YOUR BROWSING

You don’t know them but they know you.

You might be surprised at the number of data analytics companies which exist. These companies act as intelligence consultancies to serve their clients often in matters of advertising, marketing, business services, and even identifying investment areas.

In fact, just perform an internet search and there are lists upon lists of the “best” or “top” big data analytics companies for enterprises searching for the best contender firms in big data. According to the May 2019 issue of Analytics Insight Magazine, they even released their list of top 10 most innovative big data analytics providers which you can view here.

 

WHY DO COMPANIES WANT TO ANALYSE YOU?

Simply put: for your data. The companies comb through your data to build a profile on your online behaviour which they can then translate to send you targeted ads you are likely to be more interested in, or even convert your online window-shopping to real offline purchases.

 

BROWSE ONLINE, SHOP OFFLINE

Many shoppers would prefer to research online for a product, before making the purchase offline in-store, especially if it is a significant purchase.

Therefore, as much as possible, retailers will try to bridge the gap between consumer’s online browsing behaviour to the in-store experience so they can better target their marketing and brand-building efforts.

How are they doing this?

Take for instance a data analytics company that is serving the automotive industry. It will analyse billions of Internet-based consumer car-shopping sessions online to enable its clients to understand consumer demands and trends.

The data analytics company would support a suite of data utilities designed to collect and analyse consumers’ online behaviour. It could have resources to track thousands of car websites which will be analysed to tie consumers online browsing to their real names.

When you visit certain car-selling websites under their tracking, the company places a tracking file on your computer, called a ‘cookie’ that contains a unique ID number.

As you visit more sites, the company builds a profile of your shopping behaviour. This is possible because it can have computer codes on car sites across the Web.

If you have provided your name or email to a car dealer, the company would then be able to sometimes link its analysis of your web surfing to your real identity.

This could be the case if you clicked on a link in certain emails from a car dealer, or if you fill out a form on a dealership site to enquire about a car or get a coupon. When you fill out the form or click that link, the tracking company can see that the cookie on your machine is actually tied to you. The profile that the data analytics company builds of your online car shopping would be able to identify, for instance, what cars you have looked at, or whether you are a serious buyer or just window-shopping.

The data analytics company can then provide any car dealerships who are their clients with an analysis of your profile, based on your web surfing behaviour. Armed with this information on you, the dealer can now know what emails to send you, or how to approach you if you come to the dealership.

And now you know how they do it!

 

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