Spotlight on Retail: Big Data Analytics

Spotlight on Retail: Big Data Analytics


Big data initiatives which answer specific business questions are poised for explosive growth! Customer retention, product development, deepening customer engagement not to mention surpassing competitor offerings are just some of the reasons why Big Data really is Big Business. If a company is not yet using Big Data in some form or another, you better bet their competitors are.

The integration of Big Data into Retail Marketing has become widespread for customizing marketing campaigns to meet the needs and wishes of individuals. In the past, customer surveys, polls and feedback questionnaires were used in order to understand the success of a Brand, a Store or its Products. Today, Big Data analytics can help a company gain valuable insights into the most effective approach to use in order to increase revenues, win or retain customers and improve operations. All in all, Big Data provides companies the opportunity to make intelligent decisions so precisely that companies could redefine their whole marketing and pricing strategies.

So, what exactly is Big Data?

“Big data is an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional data processing applications” (Wikipedia).

Big data is being generated by everything around us at all times, at an alarming velocity and volume; every digital process and social media exchange produces it. To extract meaningful value from big data however, optimal processing power and shrewd analytical capabilities are essential.

How can Retailers benefit from Big Data?

Let’s take the most prominent shopping day for retailers, Black Friday. In less than three weeks shoppers will hit the Black Friday sales and one can safely expect a large percentage of “ker-chings” to be completed online. In fact in 2013, a rocking $1.2 Billion worth of Black Friday online sales were realised and approximately 40% of those came from smartphones or tablets (Techcrunch).

Online purchases produce rich and diverse sets of data for retailers which, in-store purchasing has yet to achieve. When online, customers spend time searching, gathering opinions, comparing and sharing before making the final purchase. Even if the customer does not immediately make a purchase, the data captured online can provide useful insights into the customers’ needs, wishes, likes, demographics and location. With the increased usage of mobile purchases, retailers can expect enhanced benefits such as price comparisons made on-the-go, the geo-location (especially when used to access directions) and the active sharing of pictures on, what some have poised to have the ability to generate bigger revenues than Facebook, Pinterest.

Pinterest, which is reportedly seeing 70% of its usage coming through mobile applications, could show retailers what customers are about to do. A closing thought; instead of analysing what customers have already done, wouldn’t it be fantastic if retailers managed to get their hands on Big Data showing them what customers were about to do?


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