5 Predictive Analytics Tools for SMBs

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Big data isn’t just for big business. Hyperlocal vendors with predictive analytics tools are streamlining their platforms in order to attract small business users. These predictive analytics tools rely on a combination of statistics, data mining, machine learning, and modeling to make predictions about the future. Within the SMB community, specifically, these predictions are often used to generate personalized offers based on customer preferences and purchasing histories.

The idea of using predictive analytics for small business marketing is still in its infancy. But the market is growing as small business owners become more comfortable integrating these technologies into their business practices. According to a 2014 report by TWDI Research, 58% of businesses that use predictive analytics today use it for direct marketing, and 55% use it for cross-selling/upselling.

Here are five vendors with predictive analytics tools that SMBs can use.

1. Canopy Labs: Use models to reach customers at the right time.
Canopy Labs offers customer-level funnel analytics for businesses. The vendor aims to predict the future by tracking sales trends, customer behaviors, and utilizing unique predictive behavioral models. The information that businesses glean from Canopy Labs may shape upcoming marketing campaigns and influence merchandizing decisions. Sales teams are able to personalize individual offers to customers and make strategic product recommendations. Canopy Labs also uses models to help businesses reach out to customers at the most opportune times. Standard pricing for businesses costs $250 per month.

2. Watson Analytics: Understand how analytics impact the bottom line.
IBM’s Watson Analytics is a platform that breaks complicated analytics into “conversational terms.” Available as a mobile app or on the web, Watson Analytics is a self-service solution. The platform itself helps small businesses make future predictions using current data. It’s useful for analyzing all types of data, including marketing, sales, HR, and finance. Watson Analytics runs on “natural language” and helps users identify patterns and anticipate the answers to actual questions, like how to drive more sales or how to determine which customers are most likely to make high-value purchases. Watson runs on a “freemium” model, however businesses should contact the company directly for specific pricing information.

3. Stitch Labs: Make better inventory purchasing decisions.
Stitch Labs debuted a sales forecasting tool aimed directly at local merchants in March. Using a combination of predictive technology and customer order histories, Stitch Labs helps small businesses in the retail industry make better purchasing decisions. It also helps businesses accurately forecast future sales. Retailers can choose to project sales in four or 12-week periods. Stitch Labs differentiates itself from competing hyperlocal solutions by using “an internal data cluster,” rather than third-party plugins. Starter plans costs $29 per month.

4. BigML: Large-scale machine-learning for smaller businesses.
Designed for businesses that can’t afford traditional big data technology, BigML looks for ways that its users can take better advantage of the data they already have available. The hosted machine-learning platform finds relationships and patterns in pre-existing data sets. These relationships and patterns are then used by businesses to predict customer churn. BigML’s tools can also be used to create datasets and models, as well as generate predictions about the future. Predictions come with “confidence values,” which indicate the certainty of each prediction. BigML is free to start.

5. InsightSquared: Analyze historical data to make predictions.
InsightSquared is a business analytics tool that organizations can use to track and manage sales behaviors. Through a combination of modeling and historical performance data, businesses generate reports that predict future sales successes. Users can also see how opportunities correlate with “win rates” and look at sales cycle reports by won/loss ratios. The company’s marketing-specific features identify which campaigns generated the most new leads, making it easier for marketers to analyze campaigns based on successes and failures. InsightSquared’s Basic plan costs $65 per user, per month.

Know of other predictive analytics tools that smaller businesses can utilize? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.