On those days when the weather is terrible, or you’re sick and stuck in bed, and you drag out your laptop to do some online shopping, there are people watching you. Or rather, there are computers watching you. Databases are gathering every click of a product and every word entered into the search engine of the website, all to present you with a plethora of their products to buy without doing any searches.

For the buyer and the retailer these monitoring techniques are often seen as both a benefit and a curse. But as buyers venture into the future of online retail and ecommerce, these techniques are ultimately what is keeping these businesses alive.

Predictive analytics is increasingly being used to improve businesses and fine-tune marketing strategies by forecasting which products are most likely to be purchased by which customers, while also influencing buying behavior. It’s the power behind the suggestions of other items you may like when browsing or shopping online. Think of this as a virtual sales associate.

This technology is becoming more advanced as buyer behavior shifts towards more elaborate research on a variety of platforms prior to purchasing, especially mobile. Efficiency within the buying process is increasingly vital, along with the predictability of consumer behavior and buying decisions. Being in sync with customers enables ecommerce companies to essentially streamline the journey and determine the most likely moment when a browser becomes a buyer. The more accurate their…