Unpicking Big Data in Retail

With most industries touched by the advances in data usage, retailers are among those wising up to the growth opportunities that it brings. Big Data assists smarter behaviour, helping retailers to acquire, retain and influence customers.

Strip back retail success and what do you find? Data, plus a rich, utilised understanding of it. Data drives informed decisions that help businesses evolve. 

Here, HSO looks at retail considerations that arise from interpreting Big Data.

Unified Data Streams

Omni-channel is no longer new. Despite this, Forrester suggests that 40% of retailers are struggling to transition to business management systems that permit the rollout of integrated data capture streams that assist seamless multi-channel activity. The challenge is to create a unified data stream that empowers retailers, giving them the agility and reactiveness to move their customer experience from market average to market best. 

Mobile Commerce

E-commerce, e-tailing, online shopping, etc. is the fasting growing element of retailing today. Inside this, mobile commerce is said to be growing at a rate that is 2.5 times quicker than any other, equating to 30% of all US e-commerce. This equips mobile commerce providers with the data they need to tailor communications to these consumers at a later date. 

Connected Devices with IoT

IoT is everywhere, and the interconnection of devices signifies great potential for retail. Automated checkouts, promotional and locational in-store messaging, and inventory sensors are amongst a host of IoT technologies set to evolve and optimise stores into the ultimate sales engine. 

Seemingly futuristic experiences are perhaps not as far away as they seem. What’s more, the forecasted economic impact of ultra-connectivity makes for positive reading, with McKinsey projecting that the adoption of IoT will see monetary contributions of between $410 billion and $1.25 trillion per year between now and 2025.

Social Selling

Social network referrals, up 60% in the last two years, continue to be a primary consideration for retailers. Social engagements provide the opportunity to do more than sell; they provide the means to improve customer service outside the boundaries of a traditional shop environment. 

Retailers can also involve themselves in topical and trending conversations, alongside the placement of ads in consumer viewing streams. For those within data management teams though, what does this mean?

Initially, in order to process these new high volumes of data and data sets, it’s likely that companies will need to deploy new data platforms. Analysing and utilising the data is a secondary consideration to this; it may sound obvious, but over 80% of retail data collected today goes unused.

With the amount of data being exchanged across industries, customer privacy will be high on retail agendas. It’s been revealed that 12% of a retailer’s local consumers stopped shopping because of a data breach, and 36% stated they’ll shop less frequently. Data permits the rollout of personalised experiences, so it’s vital for retailers to incorporate data privacy infrastructure capabilities.

The Bottom Line

Retailers are expected to commit more time and resource to researching and deploying avenues to optimise data streams. They know achieving consumer loyalty will require investment to meet the growing expectations of the consumer.  

To experience the greatest possible benefits from data investments, retailers need to think about scale, security, and their infrastructure readiness.

HSO is an experienced provider of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail. To explore our solutions, click here.

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