Here’s an interesting article from ZDNet describing how big data analytics could affect the upcoming holiday sales:
Specifically, according to the article, the idea of retailers utilizing big data analytics to reveal crucial information about their consumer bases has recently become viable. There are many different ways that retailers are hoping to use big data analytics this holiday season. According to the article “Analytics that can handle enormous volumes of diverse data are being deployed to perform closed-loop analysis on a wide-range of activities, including effectiveness of marketing campaigns, customer on-line buying behavior, performance of sales promotions, social-commerce and inventory optimization.” I find the idea of analyzing online buying behavior to be particularly interesting. As time goes on, companies are gaining more and more ways to gain information about their potential customers. Companies are already able to purchase personal information from major search engines such as Google in order to better advertise to consumers and this new form of consumer analysis could simply be the next step in the same process. The detail involved in this analysis is also astounding. According to the article “These advanced analytics enable retailers to perform deep, precise customer segmentation by demographics, such as age and income, and psychographics such as interest and lifestyle profiles — segments which are then used to drive highly optimized and personalized offers and campaigns.” Being able to rapidly analyze consumer response to sales promotions and marketing campaigns could also be highly useful to retailers. By speeding up their reaction to consumer responses, they could be better able to maximize their profits by rapidly tailoring their sales and marketing initiatives to have the greatest appeal to the target demographic, helping them to maximize profits and minimize expenditures. The sheer speed of their potential response time is also impressive. According to the article “Big Data analytics make it possible for retailers to directly correlate consumer Web activity with promotions and marketing campaigns, and track resulting sales transactions. And as a result, retailers can monitor and tweak promotions and campaigns in near real-time to maximize spend, increase profitability and generate revenue during this short, but critical period of time.” The implications of this diminished response time are particularly intriguing. The possibility of retailers being able to react, with such speed, to the consumers, is an interesting one that brings many questions to the forefront. How will this affect the experience of the consumer? Will this big data become widely utilized in retail or will only the largest and or the most innovative firms take notice at first? How will the increasing prominence of big data in retail affect the hiring patterns of retailers? One thing is fairly certain, however, big data analytics is about to have a large impact on the retail industry.