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Business Data Collection | Overview, Tools & Methods

Instructor: Peter Crain

Peter has been working as a franchising consultant for over 3 years, and has over a decade of diverse business experience before that. He holds an MBA in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia as well as a Bachelor of Music from West Chester University.

Learn about business data collection and understand why it is important. Explore business data collection methods and see examples of data collection in business. Updated: 03/10/2023

What is Business Data Collection?

Business data collection is the practice of acquiring and analyzing information in order to help drive business initiatives and discover the answers to questions that may exist for a company. Some reasons why a business would want to conduct data collection as a part of its business model include understanding who is best using a business's product or service, determining client demographics, identifying internal growth, and much more. Much of how a company collects data depends on the question that is being answered. If a retail business is looking to determine how much customers are spending and on which products, they could pull data from transactions. Sometimes a business will also print a survey link on receipts with the possibility of a reward in order to incentivize feedback.

There are different types of data that a business could collect. Personal data gives a business insight into the demographics of its customer base, which can help to inform more personalized offerings and marketing. Behavioral data tracks how customers spend their money, interact with a business, and what trends may be popular. It is another way to enhance a business's ability to attract and retain customers.

Importance of Data Collection in Business

Data collection in business is essential to the growth and sustainability of a company. If a business is not looking at external and internal information about itself there can be no growth. No matter the size of the company, data collection is a fundamental part of the business operation. Storing collected data is important as well because it allows for the ability to draw upon historical information when needed. This is useful for tracking trends as well as establishing a benchmark for internal metrics. As another benefit, storing data allows for cost savings over time. Methods of collecting new data have a cost, so if prior collected data is stored for future use there is no extra cost of use.

Business Data Collection Methods

The ways in which a business collects data are diverse. The following are some examples of how that data may be collected.

  • Competitive intelligence tools— Competitive intelligence is a field of data collection that involves understanding businesses that operate in the same industry and are competing for the same customers. Competitive intelligence tools are resources aggregated by third-party sources that allow a business to study the trends and actions of its competitors to see where the business can increase market share.
  • Online surveys — Online Surveys have been a long-standing method of collecting customer insights. They can collect both qualitative data and quantitative data in the same breath by the way that questions are worded. Questions must be written carefully however as bias can be introduced which can skew the data collected.
  • Website analytics — Customer behavior is easy to track based on website analytics. Seeing who is visiting a website, where they are visiting from, and how they got there are all some of how these analytics can help track behavior. How people interact with the website also provides insights to a business.
  • SEO Analysis — Taking web analytics a step further, search engine optimization or SEO analysis helps businesses understand the trends and keywords that people using search engines like Google employ to find what they are looking for. Based on SEO trends, a business can alter its website in ways that a search engine crawler would find in order to give the website a higher rank, or how close to the first suggestion on a search page the site gets.

Business Data Collection Tools

Data collection tools are practical ways of employing data collection methods. There are many different tools available to a business to accomplish whichever method they choose to use. Google Analytics has become a gold standard for collecting and interpreting data for SEO analysis, and provides a way to track data online. In addition, there are databases devoted to competitive intelligence that also store data for historical use. The tool needed for a particular job depends on the method of data collection being used. Sometimes simple tools such as observation or taking pictures are data collection as well.

Examples of Data Collection in Business Research

Here are some examples of data collection in business research and how they benefit the companies using them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does data collection help a business?

Data collection helps businesses in two ways. The first way is to look inward and make sure that the business is on a good path to grow. The second is to be aware of consumer trends and sentiments to best market to them.

What data should a business collect?

Businesses collect both personal and behavioral data. These data help to establish trends, consumer habits, and numerical data on their spending.

What are five tools for data collection?

There are a multitude of tools for data collection. Surveys, website analytics, search analytics, observation, and interviews are five tools that can be used to data collection.

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