Retailers increasingly use customer ‘Big Data’ to grow revenue
By Jay Keller
How this information is collected and analyzed represents an emerging trend around “Big Data” and how major retail brands are tapping into its various forms to identify new revenue opportunities through business analytics, security intelligence and compliance.
Simply stated, “Big Data” is not data about data.
Instead, retailers are increasingly finding new ways to access and use digital breadcrumbs customers leave behind when they use a smartphone or access a web browser on a wireless network or hard-wired internet connection through a laptop, desktop or tablet.
Trustwave says that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, both structured and unstructured, are created every day while the volume of business data generated doubles every year.
Only 20 percent of the data is structured, meaning specific information is stored in a database based on a methodology of columns and rows.
Unstructured data, however, is everything else including tweets, Facebook posts, photos, email, word documents, network log files, spreadsheets, cat memes, etc.
Retailers are getting smarter in their abilities to analyze the massive amount of data generated by various consumer interactions at the physical location, through an online marketplace or on various social media platforms.
Retailers do say they are using the new business intelligence to create a more customized shopping experience while the customer is in the store.
Behind the scenes, however, retailers are also using the data to staff and stock stores, optimize floor plans and other marketing initiatives like daily deals or mobile coupons for example.
According to Trustwave, at least 73 percent of companies participating in study are using “Big Data” analysis to increase revenue.
Of these companies, 57 percent increased existing revenue streams with “Big Data” analysis while 43 percent used the intelligence to create new sources of revenue.
Many pundits in the retail industry still question how customers will respond to the use of personal information contained in digital breadcrumbs left on cell towers, mobile devices and web browsers.
Retailers run the risk of being so overly concerned about the bottom line that customers lock down their privacy controls even more.