There’s no end to the possibilities data can open up for your business. That was the theme of the recent Data Day conference run by Startup Daily, which looked at how businesses can leverage data generated by both customers and staff to create new products, features, and processes.

The day featured fireside chats with startup founders including Martin Hosking of artist marketplace Redbubble and Hamish Petrie of ingogo, and panel chats with figures including Priyanka Rao of Luxmy Furniture, Bridget Loudon of Expert360, and Ash Davies of Tablo Publishing. Though their businesses are all situated in vastly different markets and industries, these founders all have one key thing in common: they have figured out how to make the most of their data to better their business.

For example, Jo Burston, founder of female entrepreneurship movement Inspiring Rare Birds, discussed how the organisation uses data to organise its mentorship program, a process that has traditionally been based on gut feeling and instinct.

“We looked at the demographics of each person, such as their gender, their time in business, their skills, their mindset - it’s not just are you good at marketing or accounting - we pull loads and loads of data in and then work out from there what are the actual sets of data that need to match to get these people working with each other, and not just because it might work but because they have an actual chance of going on a journey together,” Burston explained.

In their panel interview, Priyanka Rao of Luxmy Furniture and Julie Stevanja of fashion startup Stylerunner discussed data in ecommerce, with Rao taking the audience through what kind of data Luxmy collects. She said Luxmy works with simple quantitative data like website hits, customer comments and complaints, trend analysis, sales per product, sales per customer, customer type, and qualitative data such as external trends, with Luxmy keeping a close eye on the international market to benchmark its own performance.

“A huge part of what we do is data,” Rao said.

Stevanja said the same goes for Stylerunner: “We are pretty data obsessed.”

She said Stylerunner focused on sales, traffic, and conversion rates for the first year and a half before beginning to track the performance of every department within the business. This has meant looking at qualitative and quantitative data from everything like customer service and customer satisfaction to the efficiency and productivity of Stylerunner’s pick and pack teams.

“We now have a list of KPIs, essentially, for every department, not just our sales and how we’re performing financially,”

Stevanja said. Stevanja and Rao agreed that this data is crucial to making their businesses run better, particularly when it comes to spending marketing dollars wisely.

“We start with that qualitative data, looking at what the trends are, make some decisions, and then launch and learn and iterate. We launch, start to get a bit of feedback, and then put our money behind our best bets. It’s changed from the days of coming up with a marketing campaign six months in advance and crossing your fingers,” Stevanja said.

You can find more insights from Data Day here.