Big Data: The Holy Grail of Retail


Retail is a trillion dollar industry. To stay ahead of market trends, retailers are increasingly leveraging big data to get to know their customers better and uncover insights to ultimately drive sales. Retailers, small and large, are using big data to gain a competitive advantage as new technologies allow businesses to not only predict trends, but also prepare for future demands.  As big data continues to evolve, it will shape a future of modern retail where intelligent, connected, and automated technologies will provide a 360-degree view of the path-to-purchase.

It’s no secret we live in a time where nearly every decision a consumer makes is captured and recorded. Where we drive, what we purchase, our brand preference – all of this information is collected for the purpose of extracting consumer behavior patterns and activating them for desired outcomes.

There is no doubt that being able to accurately predict consumer trends is the Holy Grail for retailers. So, how are retailers using big data to thrive in today’s competitive environment?

They look into the past. Mapping customer purchase patterns is one of the more classic uses of big data. Machines are able to learn trends based on historical stats, which helps retailers generate the most accurate recommendations and delivers experiences that meet and exceed customer expectations.

They Give VIP Treatment. Predicting trends is one thing; retailers must also forecast demands in order to meet those trends. By anticipating consumer needs and implementing accurate stocking strategies, big data allows retailers to have the products consumers want on-hand while mastering the art of matching fact-driven trends with demand.

They understand the path to purchase. Determining what led the customer to your store is a big part of well, big data. The rise of multi-channel marketing in retailing and omnichannel selling is creating a large number of different tracks that customers can take to buying a product. Big data technology is allowing retailers to get much more out of this analysis, helping them guide customers along the path.

They meet customers where they are. Spotting trends is as easy as going on your social media feeds.  However, analyzing customer files from social media platforms can be a lot like pinpointing a needle in a haystack. While listening to social media is imperative as a retailer, sifting through the chatter to filter valuable insights is a daunting process. As these capabilities improve, retailers will get better at identifying social records that provide insight into their customer’s ever-changing preferences. If you’re not engaging and watching, you’re missing out.

Minimizing shrink and fraud. Fraud is a huge problem in retail. Millions of dollars are lost every year because of it.  Retailers have approached this issue a myriad of ways, trying every trick in the book to eliminate this risk, but now they are turning to big data to give them an edge. Big data can help retailers fight fraud with a number of methods, from using predictive capabilities to create a baseline sales forecast at the SKU level to harnessing big data to activate internal controllers for increased transparency into in-house activities.

Big data changes everything and will continue to transform the way retailers do business. That’s why retailers need to ensure they have the right technology, like the FlorLink SmartHub to capture and report the right trends.

The opportunity exists for retailers to rise to the occasion and big data is proving to be a major catalyst in helping them get there. 

Big Data: The Holy Grail of Retail over a data background

There is no doubt that being able to accurately predict consumer trends is the Holy Grail for retailers. So, how are retailers using big data to thrive in today’s competitive environment?