We. Love. Data. And we don’t even work in e-commerce.
Your developers also need to love data – especially your new hires. But how can you be sure they live and die by an Excel spreadsheet full of perfectly analysed data? How can you know they’re not pretending to live for data when they’re actually living for Ultimate Frisbee?
We’re going to give you the low-down.
To find out what other skills e-commerce developers can’t live without, and how to make sure they have them, download our free e-book!
Why data is important in e-commerce
Did you know that more data was created in 2017 than in the previous 5000 years combined? What about the fact that by 2020, roughly 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet?
We live in a data-filled world, and for e-commerce and travel tech companies, it can be the difference between rapid growth or an early death.
Data can help e-commerce and travel tech companies understand their customers better
E-commerce and travel tech companies are processing vast amounts of customer data every single day. It’s a core part of their business model, but it’s also a pretty awesome way of making sure customers receive a relevant, personalised service. Successfully analysing data is key to company growth and individual success. E-commerce developers therefore need to know how to analyse data – and how use it to boost customer acquisition and retention.
How developers use data in e-commerce
There are a million reasons developers need to use data in travel tech and e-commerce, but we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favourites.
Developers use data to:
- Analyse shopper behaviours and patterns i.e. peak shopping times or when to launch a sale
- Learn about customer preferences and why browsers turn into customers
- Improve website design and UX optimisation
- Streamline checkout flows and improve customer touch points
- Provide a personalised experience to shoppers i.e. through dynamic pricing or recommending items the shopper usually looks for
- Identify opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell and spot gaps in the market
- Look at inventory, sales, payment data and delivery information to streamline processes
- Improve overall customer experience (91% of shoppers are not happy to shop with a company if they’ve had a bad customer experience)
- Automate actions, predict behaviours (AI) and streamline services
According to Databox, the three most important questions e-commerce companies should be asking are:
- Are we acquiring the right customers?
- Are we converting them?
- Are we constantly improving our customer experience?
Why you need to hire developers with data experience
Data is cool and we’re all slightly obsessed (see previous point for a long list of reasons why it’s awesome). But there are also three more big reasons why e-commerce developers need to be data wizzes.
In an agile environment, where developers are given the freedom to create, innovate and test out their ideas, everything needs to be backed up by data. If the workflow, code or product itself is changing rapidly, it’s crucial to track performance to know what’s working and – more importantly – what isn’t.
Agile developers need to know how to back-up their decisions using facts, data and analytics. In flat startups and early-stage companies, everyone has a voice, and developers need to prove they use data to drive decisions rather than relying on gut instinct or old habits.
In companies that are scaling rapidly, there are always bugs to fix, code to clean and new updates to roll out. To-do lists are never ending, especially in a world of emails and Slack. So developers need to prove they can use data to prioritise their workflow and decide what challenge to tackle next.
Developers should take a data-driven approach to problem-solving
How to find developers with experience analysing data
When we’re looking for developers for e-commerce and travel tech companies, we always make sure they have data experience.
There are of course, a million tools developers can use to run A/B tests and analyse performance, so if we know a client is using particular programmes we could include them as keywords. But this runs the risk of excluding great candidates who use different tools. If a developer has an analytical mind, a keen eye for detail and solid experience analysing their work, they can easily be trained to use a different set of data tools. Their soft skills and work ethic are more important than their technical experience.
So, instead of using keywords, we tend to focus on:
- the way developers prioritise their workload
- how they measure the success of a product or piece of work
- what tactics they use to convince team members to adopt new ideas or ways of working
How to assess whether a developer has data experience
Questions, questions, questions! You know the drill by now. Here are five example questions you could use to identify whether a developer has data experience. We tailor these questions (and ask others) depending on the company and role, so use them with caution!
- How do you and your current team decide what to do? (Do they use data, AB Testing, assumptions, gut instinct, are they told what to do? Do they create a backlog of ideas)
- Can you share an example of an idea you believed in and had to push hard to convince others to support/adopt? How did you convince them? (Are they collaborative, how do they make decisions and back up their ideas?)
- Give me an example of a time where you made a mistake – how quickly did you realise and how did you know what went wrong? (How regularly do they use data to analyse their work?)
- How do you know if a new feature or iteration is successful? (Do they A/B test, run data reports, etc)
Data over frisbee. Every time.
We’re all data lovers. Your developers need to be too. In fact, it’s one of the most important factors for us when we’re deciding whether to move candidates to the next stage of the interview process.
We obviously wouldn’t penalise any Ultimate Frisbee fanatics, but they’d have to work extra hard to convince us to hire them. (Just kidding – we love all developers equally… as long as they also love data.)
For more information about hiring e-commerce developers, take a look at the rest of the blog posts in our series:
We’ve also put together an e-book full of super useful developer-spotting tips and tricks. From profiles to interview questions, it has everything you need to start filling your tech team with
aliens e-commerce developers.