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How the Scientific Method Influences the World of E-Commerce

Did you know that everything you buy or sell on the internet is highly influenced by science?  In today’s world where almost 70% of shopping is conducted online, marketers and retailers are taking full advantage of science to lasso sales and boost their bottom lines.  This could be particularly relevant to you if you are selling products online. 

If you’ve got an online business or a website using WooCommerce WordPress hosting, you might be interested to learn how the scientific method can benefit your e-commerce sales.  Read further to understand more about how the scientific method can positively influence your e-commerce game online. 

What is the Scientific Method?

Since as far back as the 17th century, the scientific method has been utilized to collect and organize information that results in hard, usable data. This method leans heavily on intense observation and also relies on skepticism.

In essence, the scientific method means you are scrutinizing and recording all the details of a subject and closely observing it in order to render a better, measurable understanding of outcomes.  Using the scientific method eliminates assumptions because the recorded data should render repeatable results, which takes the guesswork out of future outcomes.

How is the Scientific Method Used in E-Commerce?

There are specific steps to the scientific method that have been modified allowing marketers and e-commerce professionals to predict consumer behavior more easily.  The four scientific method steps that can be utilized for e-commerce are:

  1. Consider the problem and/or question
  2. Develop a hypothesis (a theory or supposition) about the situation
  3. Test the hypothesis
  4. Analyze the consequences and results
  5. Refine your research

When you apply these scientific method steps to the world of e-commerce, you can dramatically increase your odds for better success in online selling. Here are some tips on how to walk through each step of the scientific method in order to improve your e-commerce marketing strategy today. 

The First Step: Identify the Problem

Using the first step in the scientific method for e-commerce purposes will guide you to identify the main challenge in your sales tactics.  For example, let’s say the problem is that your red-colored widget isn’t selling as well as the blue one.  

Furthermore, you might deduce this widget isn’t attracting the demographic you want to tap into to make more sales.  In this case, you’ve clearly identified the problem, which is the first step to finding a solution using the scientific method.

The Second Step:  Develop Your Theory About the Cause of the Problem

Now that you’ve clearly identified the problem, the second step is to attempt to answer it.  Try to make a guess as to why the red widget sells more units than the blue, and why you’re not capturing a coveted demographic.  Making a guess might sound flippant, but it’s the best way to start the ball rolling in the direction of progress. 

Once you have developed a hypothesis (a guess), you can then go through the other steps to ultimately get to a valid conclusion about the issues you’re having with your e-commerce tactics. 

In this scenario, you might develop a theory that your website design is somehow negatively influencing your desired demographic. You may conclude your site design might be off-putting, therefore dissuading your target audience from purchasing your red-colored widgets.

Third Step: Test Your Theory

Once you’ve tackled the problem and developed a working theory or hypothesis as to why things are going haywire, it’s time to test your guesswork. Start experimenting with different solutions or actions you can apply to the problem.  

Let’s consider the aforementioned example in which your question might be, “How can I get ‘X’ demographic to buy my red widgets?”  Then consider the suggested hypothesis to answer that question which might be, “Perhaps my web design is turning off my demographic to where they are not attracted to my red-colored widgets.” 

Now that you have A (the question) + B (the supposition) you can begin testing.  In this situation, start tweaking your website design so that it is more appealing to your target demographic to buy your red widgets.  You may also feature the red widgets more prominently in your web design to draw more attention to them. 

Try to be patient during the testing phase of the scientific method of e-commerce. It will take time to observe and formulate conclusions.  Additionally, be sure to take rigorous notes about the results you receive through the testing process.  Record analytics, sales, and customer behavior while on your website as you are testing the changes you’ve implemented to answer the question to your issue.

Fourth Step: Make Your Deduction

This step involves gathering up the data and analyzing the results for answers.  If (using the example above), you gained sales from your desired demographic when you adjusted your website design, then this is a clear answer that the design was at fault for the lack of e-commerce sales.  After you test against your hypothesis, ideally, you should be able to determine if your theory was right or wrong. 

Last Step: Refine Your Research Based on Your Findings

If, after testing your theory, you find there is no change in sales or capturing your coveted demographic, then the scientific method states it’s time to go back to the drawing board.  Keep your original problem, but formulate a different hypothesis. 

Again, using the working example, if you found no impact on sales when changing the website design, perhaps the theory is wrong.  Therefore, pose a different hypothesis such as “Perhaps my social media isn’t geared to my desired demographic.” 

After you have produced a different working theory, it’s time to start re-testing. Once you’ve analyzed the new data from the second testing phase, you should be able to draw new conclusions as to how you can sell the red widgets to your targeted audience.

Conclusion

As you can see, using the scientific method for e-commerce marketing is largely about trial and error.  This might seem like an oversimplified approach to predicting the future of your e-commerce strategies.  However, many marketers argue that its beauty is in its simplicity. 

In the hustle-bustle world of marketing, it’s easy to get bogged down with tons of data, statistics, and analytics.  When you funnel the details down into a simplified scientific approach, you should have better results in determining solutions for your e-commerce marketing strategy.