Now you can greet every customer personally as they walk into your store. You can see how they move, and when they linger longer in a particular aisle, you can nudge them to buy with a special offer, just for them.
And you don't even have to be in the same town as the store they're shopping in. You can do it all with remote management of your in-store wireless, and real-time data analytics, reaching customers through their mobile devices.
It’s because Big Data in retail doesn't have to be that Big. With the right retail data analytics tools, you can sift out what you need and turn operational and customer data into actionable insight, which in turn leads to more sales and higher profits.
And Big Data is not just for Big Retailers. Most retail businesses can make use of the latest technology to bring diverse sources of data together, and create powerful new ways to improve efficiency and win loyal customers.
There are two key questions to ask:
- What do you want to know?
- What do you want to improve?
These questions apply to both sides of the Big Data equation: what's happening on the operational side, and how customers are behaving.
This type of data is already available to online retail where we can see page clicks, time on page, visits versus transactions ratios and abandoned baskets. Now, similar data is becoming available for physical store visits.
The beauty is that with real time analytics you no longer have to wait for the answers to emerge. By providing the data to store management and staff, you can react in the moment and interact with customers in real time. This is where Big Data can turn into Big Sales.
For many retailers, the first challenge is where to start looking for the nuggets of data that can be spun into sales gold.
On the operational side, you'll be considering sources such as sales reports, stock and margin information, staff scheduling and product flow.
You can use this information to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs. And you can start to look at how those changes can contribute to a better customer experience, which creates loyalty and higher spending.
Real value begins to emerge when you align your operational findings with the patterns you can identify in your customer information. This will include areas such as customer browsing habits, purchases and returns, loyalty card data, and the movement of customers around your stores.
With the depth and breadth of data analytics for retail now available, and the tools to make it manageable and meaningful, retailers can achieve the kind of personalisation and responsiveness that you would usually associate with the big online merchants like Amazon and eBay.
For example, one leading retail group has transformed the customer experience in its Middle Eastern outlets by aligning insight from customer loyalty schemes and browsing history, with real-time data on where customers are in store. Staff can approach customers as they browse, with relevant suggestions to help them make a selection.
Another retail business tracks how staff are using mobile devices in store, and monitors battery life to see how often each device needs to be recharged. The information allows them to make sure staff always have the technology they need to serve customers satisfactorily. At the same time, they can keep track of devices to minimise loss or theft, and avoid the cost of buying more devices than are needed to maintain a great customer experience.
Any retailer can make use of this kind of technology. It's simply a question of deciding how it can have the best impact on your business. We're working with retailers of all sizes to help them turn Big Data into Big Business.
The NSight wireless analytics solution and MPact locationing solution provide data capture and analysis. They show how customers are using the in-store Wi-Fi – including the devices they are using and where they are in the store – and allow personalised promotions to be delivered as customers browse.
At the same time, ZATAR extends the power of Big Data to the Internet of Things. It provides end-to-end supply chain visibility and allows retailers to personalise customer experiences across multiple channels.
Business ideas often turn into buzzwords, and their real meaning soon gets lost. So don’t dismiss Big Data as mere jargon, or a fad. Behind the hype, there’s a powerful and practical way to work more efficiently, get closer to customers, and increase profits.