Big data is a relatively new term and it is exactly what it sounds like: large sets of data points. That is, admittedly, still a pretty vague explanation however. Analyst Doug Laney was the first to describe the mainstream definition of big data as the three “V”s of velocity, variety, and volume. Basically, it is data that comes in a variety of different formats collected from different sources at incredible speeds.
This type of data is enormously beneficial to businesses and having a large amount of data is only the tip of the iceberg. Once you have collected the data, you’ll need to analyze it to discover how a business can leverage the information. Businesses that do utilize big data are able to increase their revenue and optimize operations. Even better, any sized business can benefit from big data. Here are five ways that big data can help businesses, retailers, and restaurants.
Know Your Customers
This is the most obvious use for big data and works by leveraging your guest WiFi and offering free access to the internet via a venue’s wireless infrastructure. In return, the business is able to collect demographic and interests information on customers. By knowing who your customers are and their journey in your space, you will know what they want and how to tailor your business to cater to them.
Big Data for Marketing
Knowing who your customers are and what they like is just the first step in marketing towards them. Big data allows you take their demographic information, along with their interests, to start crafting a marketing message. Not only do you get insights into who your customers are, but by leveraging retail analytics you can track where your customers dwell in your venue and what the affinity they have between certain stores or departments. This takes all the guess-work out of crafting a marketing plan because you can use actual data and numbers to uncover surprising insights about what your customers like or would respond to. This focuses your marketing rather than going with a more crude “see what sticks” method, thus, saving you time and money.
Big Data for Personalization
Creating a customer experience is incredibly important for brick-and-mortar spaces and is one of the key points that differentiate offline retail from online e-commerce. With the information collected via your guest WiFi and a WiFi marketing platform to implement campaigns, it’s possible to easily engage each and every person in your audience. The ability to use data and digital tools to tailor marketing to each individual customer is incredibly powerful. It’s like speaking directly to each and every single one of your customers by name. Big data allows you to analyze customer’s movements and demographics to deliver a personalized experience and increase sales regardless of whether they are in your space or surfing the internet at home or on their phone.
Big data also allows retailers to optimize their spaces. By understanding how your customers make their way through your space, you can modify where stores or departments are located. By understanding the high affinity between two specific, popular sections next to each other in a department store, for example, you could separate them with two less popular departments between. This exposes shoppers to these less popular sections and helps increase sales for those specific departments.
Malls can use the same tactics to attract new retailers. By understanding the affinity between certain stores, big data can give real-world numbers to show that their shoppers would shop at the prospective new store based on the nearby retailers. That allows the malls to approach and lease spaces to new tenants.
Efficiencies Through Prediction
Your customers are a huge part of your business which is why big data is prominently used to understand who they are and how to best communicate to them. But the other side of the coin is that a good big data platform will be able to analyze and predict problems before they even happen. Using data to discover where possible bottlenecks could appear in the near future will allow a venue operator to proactively increase staffing in a particular place before it becomes too crowded. This allows you to make sure that regulations like the fire code crowd capacity are being followed automatically or to make sure there are no delays on the customer journey. You can even use big data to optimize your cleaning staff and make sure the busier spaces are cleaned more frequently as needed and less busy spaces are not cleaned as frequently. This way you’ll neither be over- or understaffed.
Big data is the future of retail and those who embrace it are more likely to succeed. They can learn and adapt faster to the needs of their business while learning more about their audience and uncover surprising information. Real data keeps the guesswork out of the equation and maximizes revenue.