Making sense of market trends

Moving from hunch-based to data-driven decisions

The “monetization” plan for Healthica is two-fold: targeted advertising and premium client services. This post describes the initial vision for market analytics — a service which will only be available to premium clients.

“Initial” because, after more than 25 years in large-scope platform design, we can tell you that you don't know what you really want to know until you start getting results and asking better questions. The scope of this toolset will change in response to client feedback.
What's (not?) hot?

It seems certain that sellers, in particular, are going to want to know what sectors (and more specifically, items), are in demand. As an example, in our own testbed project MRICTPETPARTS.COM, we track every parts request we receive. When we consider buying a single part (or a group), we can pull results on each SKU, and we consider the demand for the part, average quoted and sales prices, and how the “Cost of Goods Sold” (COGS). This is how we evaluate every purchase we make.

What we're trying to do there is to respond to the needs of the market based on data, not on what we “think” might be a good investment.

The plan is for Healthica to supply the relevant part of this sort of analysis to our premium clients on demand. We can report the most popular requests in any category, track this over time, and show you (in charts as well as tables) what the market is asking for in any sector, and over any timeframe.

No one knows your name

It's important to point out, again, that we do not provide any sort of user tracking. Have a look at the backend table for metadata.

screenshot of the actual database table for metadata

What you don't see there is any provision for user tracking. There are two reasons for this:

  1. It's none of your business what any other user is doing.
  2. This knowledge about a specific user isn't useful for any legitimate purposes anyway.
We track the market as a set of trends — composed of the behaviors of all involved users. There's no need to be “creepy” or spy on people.
Where we go from here depends on you

For the first version, we are going to focus on statistical marketplace trends as discussed above. In a somewhat related effort, we are also going to track “likes” for both healthica pages — useful to help us understand what's working for the audience, and parts records — to show what's considered helpful. These statistics will be published on the areas > trending page for all users to see.

Your feedback is very useful so please note the flag icon on the top right corner of every page, and let us know.

Clark Wilkins, Simplexable 2022.05.12