16 Mar 2018

Why NLP and Text Mining Are the Next Big Thing in the Ecommerce Space

At first blush, text mining may seem like the umpteenth lofty technicality or piece of terminology you as an ecommerce business owner can live without. But is that true? Actually, text mining will satisfy something you, as merchant, have always craved -- the ability to read your customers’ minds. Is this possible? How this gift is channeled and how to use it gainfully in your ecommerce business are among the topics we’ll explore.

What Is Text Mining?

Text mining is one of the constituent techniques of an area of knowledge known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). This technology is currently making rapid headway enabling systems and appliances to understand human language the way a human would. Creating immense opportunities in a number of verticals and fields, NLP allows ecommerce merchants to monetize its achievements immediately. It lets them derive unparalleled, direct marketing insights from the whole spectrum of their interactions with the consumer. The bottom line is that you can learn your customers’ likes or dislikes about your product or service, which of your product’s features influence their purchases, what they are seeking, and, even, predict what may be of further interest to them. In the increasingly competitive market of ecommerce, Text Mining and Artificial Intelligence are regarded as the features that will propel most of the action in the coming years.  

What Media Can You Use to Look Into the Minds of Your Audience via Text Mining?

You can use the whole lot of information that floats around your ecommerce business and its product offering, including blogs, incoming emails, chat bot messages, on-the wall communications in social networks, search engine queries, and forum posts. You can monitor and analyze all of these media -- by means of a single complex NLP solution that can be added to your ecommerce application.

How Can You Monetize the Insights Gleaned from Your Data Using Text Mining?

The opportunities that answer this question are staggering, so we will examine a few.

Optimizing Your Inventory and Adjusting Your Product Offering

Text mining makes it possible for you to optimize your inventory by introducing items that are sought after or predicted to be in demand shortly. Further, to better match your audience's preferences, you can team up with your products’ manufacturers to modify some of the product features or properties.

Offering a Complementary Product

By emulating human understanding, NLP allows your app to capture the meaning behind a search engine query or some other phrase in its entirety.  As a result, you can effectively offer your visitors a matching complementary product at the right moment. If your visitor adds to his cart a man’s blue shirt that is stunning when paired with that orange bow tie of the same brand, why not let him know about that? They don’t shop for bow ties every day. Does your shopper have soft spot for printed t-shirts with a specific design? Offer him your newest one, and, odds are, he will be excited to add it to his collection.

Clinching It with a (Personalized) Discount

You can text-mine your data and learn in advance which part of your incoming inventory is likely to be in greater demand. This ability will allow you to start offering it to interested users with an instant discount. You can even offer several similar items, emphasizing the product of interest and tempting them with a discount.

Identifying New, Relevant Product Offerings

If you are thinking about expanding your product offering, Text Mining can aid in this goal, too. Text mining identifies which search engine queries are totally out of sync with your current inventory, groups them together, and determines if shoppers who have used those queries have, actually, given you a valuable suggestion. Apparently, more than one person considered your store to be the right place to shop for that stuff.

Ironing Out Bugs in Your Customer Service and Product Delivery

Any beef your customers may have with you can well go public these days and impede your sales. You can text-mine your data to right some grievance and protect your reputation. For example, upon finding a stinging remark on a forum, you could reach out to a patron with an apology, a discount, or both.  When done in time, this might even improve your reputation.

Also worth noting is that competitor’s data can prove to be no less important for your ecommerce business than your own. You can mine the Web to identify product popularity trends, brands that draw negative feedback, or products that are acclaimed by your potential clientele.

Who Can Implement Text Mining for Your Ecommerce Application?

In order to implement an NLP capability that would allow you to perform text mining, you would need a seasoned, professional team. This team must include at least one NLP engineer and one software engineer with a solid grasp of one of the several scripting languages (e.g., Python, Java). Typically, an NLP implementation project team consists of two or three NLP engineers, two or three software developers, one to three computational linguists, one or two QA engineers, a business analyst, and a project manager.  

Your NLP team does not have to be based in or around your vicinity. Instead, choosing a remote team can give you several advantages. Looking beyond your borders could save up to 50% of your budget and equip you with professionals with a global perspective and additional languages. Although the technology is generally language-neutral and does not require a native command of a language, a good grasp of another language would be required if you want to be able to perform text-mining in this language.

As the competition in ecommerce persists, text mining has become the cutting-edge method for a business to stay in the running. Next to mind-reading, text mining with NLP provides the most opportunities to capitalize on buying trends and reach your business potential.

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