Using customer analytics to understand and influence customer buying habits has become a key to doing business successfully today. The customer analytics market is flourishing, on track to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent between 2017 and 2023 to reach a value of $7.3 billion, Market Research Future projects. Customer analytics is in demand because companies recognize its value for boosting business. Companies that use customer analytics extensively achieve 126 percent more profit, 131 percent more sales, 186 percent more sales growth and 132 percent higher return on investment than companies that don’t, a McKinsey survey found.

In order to use customer analytics effectively, you need to set up methods of gathering information about your customers’ shopping patterns. Here are three ways you can collect information about your customers’ buying habits in order to boost your sales and grow your business.

Use Customer Relationship Management Software

The foundation for optimizing customer analytics is using customer (CRM) relationship management software. CRM tools provide a database for storing contact information of prospects and customers, along with other vital details such as how far along toward a purchase an individual is in your sales cycle, what customers have purchased from you in the past and how much they’ve purchased from you. This type of information can help you optimize your sales process by letting your sales representatives know who your hottest sales leads are, who your best customers are, and what types of products and sales approaches are most likely to appeal to individual customers.

Track Website Visitors, Social Media Followers and Mobile App Users

Another key to collecting actionable customer information is using tools to track customers who engage with you digitally. Tracking your digital marketing and sales efforts let you measure the success of your marketing campaigns, optimize your sales strategies and deliver customized sales offers based on individual customer behaviors.

Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics let you collect data such as how many visitors land on your website, where they come from, which pages they visit and how long they spend on your pages. Social media analytics tools such as Facebook’s Page Insights let you gather information about how many people like your page, how many people share your posts and how people engage with your posts, as well as demographic characteristics of your social following. App analytics tools let you collect information about your app users, including their in-app behavior, what types of devices and operating systems they use, their location and their demographic characteristics.

Study In-Store Buyer Behavior

Collecting information about in-store buyer behavior can be another important method of gathering data for analytics applications. One way to collect in-store information is to install security camera equipment at strategic locations in your store. For instance, installing a security cam directly above a new product display can let you track how many customers walk by the display, how many stop to look at the item and how many put the item back after looking at it. You can also gather information such as how many customers enter your store, which paths they take, which aisles they spend the most time in, and what products they look at, which can help you make decisions about where to place products you want to showcase.

Another way to track in-store behavior is to gather information from your point of sale transactions by using retail analytics tools. Retail analytics tools let you track what you’re selling, who’s buying it, when they’re buying it, and which of your cashiers are selling the most of it.