Big Data: The Retailer’s Tool for Keeping Consumers On-Side and Happy

August 4, 2013
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ImageThe facilitator of modern retail, big data, is fast becoming the engine driving modern commerce; allowing organisations to help individuals to lead more rewarding lives.

ImageThe facilitator of modern retail, big data, is fast becoming the engine driving modern commerce; allowing organisations to help individuals to lead more rewarding lives. A continuous  endeavour, and with huge revenue potential, successful big data analysis means consumers experience a personalised, more satisfying world of brand interaction and advertising – as it enhances marketers’ abilities to anticipate and adapt to their immediate and long-term needs. 

But just how can big data improve retailers’ service and product provision for unique consumers as well as wider demographics? And how does that keep customers satisfied and loyal?

How big data keeps consumers on side

The most obvious advantage to successful data harnessing in retail is that it enables real-time reactions to market demand, and more direct insight into consumer purchasing motivations. Allowing instant optimisation of pricing and promotions, stock, supply, staffing and more; integrating this ‘outside’ information with ‘inside’ or ‘traditional’ marketing data, means retailers receive an all-encompassing awareness of the factors they must act on to reach markets at the right time.

How? 

Well through big data, retailers may learn that consumers in the south are likely to purchase particular clothing or foods, correlating to say, the weather or their demographic preferences. Or, by analysing affordability and regional spend data*, retailers can use data to introduce strategies at a nationwide or regional level, influence promotions, offers, products or even the layout of individual stores for enhanced consumer satisfaction. For an example of useable data; clothing spend per household per week in the UK ranges from £19 in the North East of England, to £25 in London – a yearly difference of £312. Weekly supermarket spend is also highest in the South at almost £80 per week compared to £72 (again in the North East), correlating with regional income differences. While initially this may seem a generally accepted assessment, if supermarket spend is reviewed as a proportion of net income, then North Eastern consumers dedicate larger budgetary percentages to weekly shops than Londoners – with a difference of 17% to 10%.

External purchasing influences (and valuable data) can come from all angles too. If retailers know those angles, they can use related data to anticipate market requirements, and be better positioned to adapt. For example, if television viewers aged 18-30 in North London were gripped by a show in which the lead character wore a particular style, that style is likely to become in demand. Knowing this through social and other data, retailers targeting that age demographic can then increase stock of that style in regional stores, and promote it via targeted advertising campaigns to relevant London consumers.

It’s integrated big data applications like this which allow retailers to be responsive to suit international, or regional consumers; keeping customers interested, loyal and satisfied.

Loyalty through trust

But of course, because big data is so enormous and varied, locating and using valuable data to enhance customer satisfaction is difficult. But that’s where big data providers come in. Helping with capture, analysis, and monetisation, aside from influencing strategy, data providers play a crucial role in ensuring retailers’ understand the importance of responsible data use to retain consumers long-term trust. The key to transparency, if retailers are using consumers’ data they must clearly do so responsibly and securely. Keeping customers informed and aware of privacy policies (while providing an ‘opt-in or out’ choice), means data remains a beneficial utility to both parties – trusted, secure and there to enhance the retail experience.

*Data courtesy of Acxiom

image: customer satisfaction/shutterstock