Big Data Analytics and the future of Retail


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It is well-documented that Big Data could help retailers comprehend customers, reach new revenue streams and even boost customer interaction through on-time, location-based incentives and offers. What is not well understood is how it would affect the future of retail.


As the Internet of Things or IoT becomes a thing, more and more retailers would enable their physical shops with sensors that are able to detect when a nearby shopper has the application installed on their device, whether it be a cell phone or tablet. The app could then deliver timely offers and incentives to help offer more products, introduce shoppers to new products they may not have heard of or seen. Of course, this is only one of the many uses of the IoT, but it would be a powerful one for retailers.


The IoT movement offer retailers considerable opportunities to boost customer experience, new channels, supply chain and revenue streams. As more and more consumers are increasingly adopting connected devices and wearable technologies, retailers could leverage data from these devices to optimize customer interactions, enhance the in-store experience and deliver personalized offers to customers. From the business point of view, the Internet of Things technologies could help retailers drive operational efficiencies via employing a myriad of connected devices to perform things, such as track inventory or adjusting pricing in real-time.


For all the fanfare about social media data, retailers will get more useless chatter instead of real data. However, with better data analytics, retailers could filter out all the useless noise and home on real data wherein it applies to what they have to know regarding their customers, the perception of the public of the brands and the way people respond to the products.


Customer data analysis from social media platforms could be more like a needle in the haystack—there’s more chatter to sift through to discover each and every nugget of valuable information. Nevertheless, Big Data analytics make it possible to gather and interpret huge amounts of unstructured data and merge it with other data sources as well to offer a more complex view of a customer across various channels. As the capacities improve, retailers will be better at filtering out useless information and pinpointing data, which provides insight into the customer preferences and needs, as well as how customer feel about certain products and brands.


Big Data could also be used to establish better pricing. Will customers be willing to pay more if the product has an X feature or would a retailer sell a million more items if the product was priced at less than $1? These are some of the issues that make a big difference when it comes to profits, and big data is rapidly becoming useful in answering these kinds of queries.


The popularity of social media and mobile technologies are changing the way customers interact with brands as well as the ability to deliver a similar experience across numerous channels has become a major challenge. But, as retailers increasingly optimize and diversify their channels, it also means there are bigger amounts of vital customer data flowing in from multiple resources. Big Data analytics would help retailers harness the data so all channels will have the same customer information to draw from all the time. This would enable retailers deliver better Omni-channel customer experiences, boost the supply chain management and test advertising effectiveness.


Big Data could tell what store layout that will result to maximum gross sales. Some stores managed to significantly boost revenue via making minor adjustments to the retail stores layout. Big Data could help with display colors, product placement, display styles and even floor plans, cash registers arrangement, scheduling and staffing. There are a little aspects of running a retail establishment that big data one day won’t play a starring role in.


Big Data would also be useful for retailers outside the customer relationship. For instance, already I tis making a huge impact on the supply chain logistics and management. Big Data could check out what region that a new product will be most popular as well as determine the best route to have more stock delivered there. In addition, big data could help find the best supplier relationships and even useful for the management of the relationship and negotiations.

Without doubt, big data would continue to evolve, shaping the future of retail wherein connected, intelligent and automated technologies would be the new norm in customer satisfaction.

Ritesh Mehta
Ritesh Mehta works as a senior Technical Account Manager in a software development company named TatvaSoft Australia based in Melbourne. He specializes in Agile Scrum methodology, Marketing Ops (MRM) application development, Android app development, SAAS & SOA application development, Offshore & Vendor team management. Also, he is knowledgeable and well-experienced in conducting business analysis, product development, team management and client relationship management.


  1. Big data can help businesses of all types, and retail is one of those industries where it is especially beneficial. Not only can data help retailers learn about their customers, but it can also help them better manage their supplier relationships and ensure adequate on-hand inventory for their shoppers.


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