Retailers are Big Fans of Big Data and Analytics


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Most retailers depend on holiday sales to boost profits and come out in the black for the year. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why the holidays are so crucial for retailer success. Fail to capitalize on the season, and you could quickly find your business failing. On the other hand, if your holidays sales are immense, it could lead to big things down the line. For that reason, retailers are seeking any edge they can find in order to increase their chances of having a successful holiday shopping season. One extremely helpful advantage that has really come into its own in the past few years is big data analytics. While big data has been put to use in a large variety of different purposes, retailers understand just how useful it can be to increase sales for the holidays. With billions of dollars at stake across the whole retailing world, big data and other analytics solutions could very well prove the difference between success and going out of business.

Of course, actually utilizing these big data solutions is far easier said than done. Without the right tools, strategies, and talent on board, it will be very difficult for retailers to find ways to use big data for the benefit of their respective companies. Luckily, over the years the best retailers have found ways to integrate various analytics systems, all with the goal of getting customers to buy more stuff during the busiest shopping period of the year. Putting all of these systems together into one cohesive strategy makes for some really effective sales efforts.

Perhaps one of the most common analytics systems used by retailers is one you see often whenever you’re on an ecommerce website. That would be the recommendation engine, where online stores recommend certain items for the customer. Retailers take data they’ve gathered on past customer purchases to determine what other items you may like to buy. This will show up on a recommendation list, giving consumers easy access to buying something they may be interested in. Retailers are able to combine data based off of thousands and even millions of purchases to create these lists. Compared to other analytics techniques, this one is rather simple, but its effectiveness has made it a staple of any online retailing strategy. Basket analysis works in a similar way, where online shopping sites determine what items are usually purchases together. This is an automated process with big data, giving retailers more information than ever before to offer special deals for items bought at the same time.

One of the most promising developments in using big data for retail comes from video analytics. Many retailers have adopted video systems that can now analyze data in real time, creating profiles on customers simply based on physical characteristics and behavior. These systems can measure how long a customer looks at a display, for example, giving retailers added information on how best to improve their store layouts and increase sales. Heat mapping technology can indicate where customers go within a store and what they’re drawn to. The same principle applies to clickstream data, which gathers information on what customers look at and click on when browsing an online store.

Social media is also giving retailers added insights into how customers think and behave. Through social media listening, companies can compile data on how customers view a brand or product and respond accordingly. Think of this as an unfiltered look at the mind of the customer, getting their opinion directly from the source.

There are, of course, many other analytical solutions that retailers are using to boost sales. There’s the Customer 360 system, which attempts to create detailed profiles for each customer so they can be better targeted in marketing. You also have big data path-to-purchase systems, helping retailers guide customers along a path that will lead to a purchase. And that’s just scratching the surface of a very extensive tool set now at the disposal of retailers. Gathering that data is key, and keeping it safe with backup solutions helps retailers take advantage of the new capabilities that are available. With these tools of the trade, retailers can execute their strategies with confidence and ensure the holiday shopping season is one filled with tons of purchases, ending the year on a great note.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.


  1. Rick, good article, but in my experience it is rather that most retailers effectively aren’t using any of these. Do you have supporting data? Am curious and intrigued.



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