Data Analytics Is Essential in Retail Today

This post is by Liz Parry, Strategic Account Director at Teleperformance UK

In a Fortune Q&A this week the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, talked about some of the biggest trends in information technology at present – in particular the rising importance of ‘people analytics.’

Nadella is worth listening to. Microsoft is converting to be a very data-focused company and as Nadella points out, every company in every industry is now underpinned by the way they use technology.

These twin themes – the use of technology and the importance of data analytics – are becoming crucially important in retail today. Companies that previously would never previously have been considered hi-tech, are now exploring analytics, Big Data, and mining enormous sources of data in real-time.

But more importantly than this is how these technologies are being introduced into companies today. One of the key points Nadella makes when talking about these analytic technologies is that it is business line managers buying and using the technology. The IT department does not need to be involved in purchasing decisions that only involve software-as-a-service – solutions bought from the cloud.

In retail, all these changes can be seen happening at an extremely fast pace. Retailers need to engage with their customers and build a new model of customer loyalty that does not depend on plastic cards and points. This means they really need to know their customers preferences in detail.

The explosion in demand for omnichannel service, where the online offering blends with the in-store experience also means there is a more complicated management of stock data. With an increasingly complex internal management of stock coupled with customer demands to engage more across many channels it is no surprise that retails are exploring how to manage all this data.

The focus on data analytics is prescient. Every retailer needs to become adept at seeing customer trends and preferences inside an enormous fog of noise – the vast amount of data that is now generated from interactions and transactions.

Every company in every industry needs to learn how to do this well, but retail is ahead of the pack. Retail customers have already changed the way they want customer service to be provided across many channels. Retail customers have already demanded changes in the way they shop that have reshaped the supply chain. And retailers who want their customers to return and shop again need to understand their customers better.

Understanding data analytics should be at the top of the to do list for every retailer today – even if you think you are a retailer and not a technology company.

What’s your view? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.

Data Center

 

Photo by Bob Mical licensed under Creative Commons.

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