Having access to big data has led to marketers working smarter - we can now inform and test marketing strategies with huge sets of data and analytics. Whilst data cannot replace a marketer’s creative and experienced mind, it can certainly equip them with the tools necessary to make more informed decisions.

What is big data?

“Big data” sounds a bit daunting, but for retail businesses, it can be extremely valuable - as long as they know where to look. Essentially, big data is large sets of structured and unstructured data which retail businesses (and indeed other businesses) can collect using big data analytics tools such as Google’s BigQuery to discover online shopping patterns, trends and how users interact with their site (such as how long they spend on webpages and where they convert). This allows them to make improvements to their customer service, marketing campaigns and strategy to boost their Return on Investment (ROI). With technology constantly evolving and becoming more advanced (making high volumes of data more accessible and easier to store), big data is only getting bigger.

Let’s look a little closer at how big data is transforming and benefitting the retail industry online…

Top 5 ways big data is transforming the retail industry

1. You can keep on top of shopping trends and forecast demands

By applying customer analytics, you can gain valuable data insights and discover emerging shopping trends which your business can act upon. Retailers are able to better understand what current market demands are by using demographic data and economic indicators, allowing them to stay on top of new shopping trends in the industry and prepare for a rise in demand for certain products.

2. You can understand the purchase power of consumers

Through running loyalty programmes, you’ll be able to collect data through customer transactions which are recorded through their bank cards, logins and IP addresses. Retailers can analyse this data to map out how customers have been browsing and what they’re previously purchased (including the types of items they usually purchase together) to help make personalised recommendations and predict future expenditure. Predicting future purchases by analysing user accounts generated approximately 29% of ecommerce giant Amazon’s sales, which demonstrates the power of big data for retailers and how it equips you with the knowledge on how to better market to your customers in terms of what they want, when they want it and how you can make the purchase happen again.

3. You can improve your customer experience

These days consumers have high expectations when it comes to customer experience, and personalisation is also more important than ever. Big data will enable you to be more accurate with who you’re targeting in your marketing campaigns, meaning the messages you give to users will be more relevant to them. For example, you could investigate the click-through-rate of links featured on your marketing emails and other channels to understand whether these are successfully converting and whether you’re targeting the right consumers.

Giving users a seamless shopping experience is crucial - especially when they could easily exit your site and seek the products they need from your competitors. You can also use big data to analyse the shopping experience customers have had (i.e. have they been rerouted a number of times or struggled to purchase online which has led to an increased bounce rate or cart abandonment rate?) - by investigating issues with your site, social media and email marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to take actions to resolve them and provide a better customer experience.

4. You can predict customer journey analytics

From research to completing a purchase, big data is there to help you understand where consumers are searching for your products, what products they’re buying (and how often), where you’re losing customers and what could be influencing consumers to purchase a product (i.e. perhaps there’s an effective promotional campaign running which is enticing more users to the site and converting well). Big data analytics can give you answers to all of this and more so you can better understand your customer acquisition funnel.

5. You can target the right leads

When it comes to lead acquisition, you want to ensure that you’re storing the data of potential customers that are most likely to convert down the line. The information you collect at this stage will influence the type of marketing strategies you adopt to create new customers so it’s important to collect relevant, quality leads. Big data analytics can help you here. By analysing user data, you’ll be able to better understand the consumer market and create effective marketing campaigns which are designed to draw in these valuable leads - opposed to getting your brand messages out there and keeping your fingers crossed someone will be interested enough to convert.

Final thoughts

Whether your business is big or small, you can certainly benefit from making data-driven decisions using big data analytics. Big data is already shaping the retail industry, but it’s for the better - retailers and those working in ecommerce are able to easily access an abundance of stored data which can be analysed and used to run more efficient marketing campaigns and develop new products based on market demand. In fact, more retailers are going to have to look to big data if they want to keep up with their competitors and create an effective marketing strategy that isn’t simply based on guesswork. That said, retailers will need to know where to look and find the value in big data through careful analysis - gaining insight from analysts, recognising patterns and predictive consumer behaviours. It’s worth remembering that some big data will be captured in low detail, therefore, retailers will still need to rely on an expert eye to process and interpret information so that businesses are making more informed decisions.

Big data is here to stay, but so are the marketers who challenge the reliability of data, dig out the most relevant data for use and bring their own experience and expert knowledge to the table.

Want to improve your digital marketing for your retail business?

Here at Adido, we specialise in helping businesses working in the retail and ecommerce sector to evolve their business and to maximise their ROI from their marketing spend. If you’re looking to improve your digital marketing strategy with the help of big data and the minds of our digital marketing experts to increase sales, contact us today to see how we can help.

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