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Harnessing the Power of Big Data in Retail

January 9, 2012
Big Data in Retail

With 57 million shoppers visiting online retailer sites on Black Friday this past November, there is a vast amount of data being generated with every click of the mouse. Every time a website serves up a recommended item, it’s dipping into the data pool for the perfect complement (calculated yesterday) to what you (or someone like you) have browsed, previously purchased or left behind in your online cart. This is the precursor to Big Data.

The ultimate Big Data approach will be able to process everything in real-time and return new results in an instant. You no longer only act on what happened yesterday – you can now act on what happened a few minutes ago.

In a time where retailers interact seamlessly across channels, it is possible to buy a pair of shoes in one store and then have the next interaction, whether in the store, online, or mobile recommend a matching belt. The velocity of data needed to turn these science-fiction ideas into reality is achievable now with the right solutions.

Technology will continue to play an increasing role in monitoring, mapping and molding consumer behaviors, and companies that best harness the wealth of data at their fingertips will stand out in 2013 and beyond.

Retailers should use the 2012 holiday as a stepping-stone to 2013. By collecting, combining and analyzing more data, smart retailers can use Big Data platforms to boost their sales year round and create their own data revolutions.

How is your business using data to boost sales now? And what do you think retail’s biggest opportunity is to harness data in the future?