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The Role of Big Data in Customer Marketing

You can’t pick up a publication without being bombarded with articles about Big Data. Our customers are constantly asking me for practical examples of managing this large stream of digital impressions. There are several very real examples I can share of what we have deployed, but let me speak to the most obvious one today.

A key challenge in retailing has always been detecting and measuring lost sales. The cash register is the final system of record for all successful transactions, but what about the missed opportunities? Who was on the website or in the store, and why did they look but not buy?  If a retailer can understand the actions that didn’t result in a sale, they are more likely to know if they need to adjust the offer, pricing, the shopping experience, or the promotions of their products.

This type of information has previously been impossible to know and track, but Big Data and in-location technologies have changed the game, now allowing the interaction of every customer to be known. Web data traffic can be combined with existing customer intelligence data to provide a true insight of the customer by combining transactions with interactions. One way to think of this is that such transactions are what you purchased, and the interactions are where you expressed interest, yet did not purchase.

There is a wealth of new insight to be gained when you understand a customer’s intentions through their interactions. One simple example is knowing that tens of thousands of individuals have viewed a particular product, yet the sales are extremely low. This knowledge would alert the retailer something is amiss and price, color, sizing should be reviewed.

How about in-store?  How valuable would it be to know a customer is near the store, in the store, has been in the store 3 times this month, yet has not purchased? How valuable would it be to know the person who didn’t buy during the store visits went home and bought through the web?  

How can Big Data help retailers? One clear way is to increase sales is identifying at an individual level the missed opportunities. Marketing is going through tremendous change. As more customers move online, the new techniques around location-based marketing, in-store behavior analysis, customer micro-segmentation, and enhanced multichannel consumer experience are required for increasing sales conversions. Big Data provides the “missed opportunity” insights that allow retailers to drive sales through timely adjustments to their merchandise and promotions. 

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