Will there be a Big Data revolution in retail in 2018?
Written by Valentin Dubois ·
Among the trends and developments of 2018 for the retail universe, the analyses focus on Big Data. Indeed, if the role of data is already important in the sector, notably with the proliferation of digital channels and the effort to produce insight, as well as the customer experience, the importance of Big Data is going to grow rapidly.
Nevertheless, efficient use of Big Data requires, above all, the ability to integrate the information. However, retailers are collecting more and more data from increasingly different channels, making analysis of these increasingly difficult.
The debate on omnichannel is therefore moving. Having focused on the purchasing path and the customer experience for a few years now, it is now expanding and concentrating on data processing, advocating the advent of de-laced databases on which the optimization of data would be based, sales and point of sale as consumer loyalty.
Technological growth allows data collection on a new scale
This harvest is made possible by new tools to gather even more data and insight on the digital channels as point of sale. We are talking about Experience Analytics technologies, which analyze consumer behavior. They can be facial recognition tools, to detect the contentment or frustration of customers, as Walmart already does, but also “eye tracking” or “click to purchase” tools to analyze online behavior.
However, how can we reconcile these data? How can we relate them to each other? If we can analyze the behavior of a consumer in-store, they remain an anonymous customer that cannot be related to any behavioral history or purchase.
The advent of omnichannelity in data
Wi-Fi technology and mobile devices help to get around this problem. By connecting directly from their mobile phone in the store, customers are identified and the data collected on them in physical outlets is reconciled with information from their online behavior and loyalty programs.
For example, a report from MarketandMarket forecasts an increase in the WiFi data market from $ 2.94 billion to $ 10.72 billion between 2017 and 2022.
From predictive marketing to prescriptive marketing
This decompartmentalization of information, as well as the increase in the amount of data and progress in the field of machine learning, moves the cursor of predictive marketing to prescriptive marketing.
Where predictive analysis informed us of what was going to happen, the prescriptive analysis informs us of decisions to be made based on future events. In this way the analysis is more certain and avoids the emotional and human bias while allowing it to adapt to the speed and scope of analysis it must provide. With algorithms, decisions are taken directly or at least are validated by objective data, taking into account a number of factors and data that could not be analyzed on a human scale.
Big Data transforms point of sale management
We can already see the effects of this new era of analytics on the management of sales outlets. In fact, on the one hand, knowing the customer and anticipating their behavior according to their habits makes it possible to adjust the layout of the shelves as well as the location of the products (important sales drivers). For example, a store will be able to analyze online and shop-based behaviors to determine which products to highlight according to the different hours of the day or days of the week, with a precision and a tenfold relevance.
In addition, at the level of team management, behavioral analysis of the consumer associated with data and machine learning also makes it possible to adapt staffing needs, the analysis of which can be complex depending on the seasons, the hours, the weeks or holidays.
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Towards a more personalized customer relationship
In responding more closely to the needs of the customer in terms of service, data analysis should improve the customer experience in-store: less time at the cash desk and immediate help when it seems tense, thanks to facial recognition. In addition, the customer should benefit from more individualized offers with personalized notifications as soon as they enter the store, made-to-measure products or real-time promotions linked to their previous research or purchases.
In summary, technology and Big Data at the service of retail and the revaluation of the point of sale, promises to be a vector of change. Evolution in which customer experience is meant to lead the growth; as shown by the trend away from conversion indicators to satisfaction indicators.
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