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How Can Big Data Improve The Customer Experience This Holiday Season?

Managing and analyzing data are challenging initiatives for any corporation. So how do companies address “big data” analytics? To understand the concept, big data is a collection of data so big and complex that it becomes challenging to leverage using traditional software applications. Big data is handled by distribution or movement across multiple data centers and geographical locations. Servers can be on-premise, in a cloud, or a hybrid of both. Processing difficulties are based on the amount of data collected; for instance, a retail customer database can create significant processing challenges because there are so many factors surrounding a single retail purchase (why did the consumer choose that product…how many products did they buy in the transaction…has the consumer purchased at this location before… So many questions…so much data to process!).

Retailers want to know their customer to provide the greatest, most customized experience possible, so the customer will walk away satisfied, tell their friends, and feel confident to return to make another purchase in the future. In a recent study, 86% of consumers said they would quit doing business with a company due to one bad customer experience. So how can companies leverage big data to keep their customers loyal this holiday season? In preparation for their customers’ holiday shopping experience, companies should analyze their big database, segmenting data from inquiries like the following:

  • What products are their customers buying?
  • How are they purchasing the products (in store versus online)?
  • What time of day are they shopping?
  • What triggers caused the purchase? Are customers opting for cross-sell and/or up-sell
  • What are the customer’s demographics?

How can businesses get the most value from the huge volumes of data to enable them to be able to speak to their customer and provide the best experience for their customers? We can help companies look into big data from the bullet point list above to help them customize customer experiences, making holiday shopping easy, pleasurable, and ideal for each customer that enters the retail space (online or in-store):

Most retailers have a CRM system to track customer purchases. They can analyze products that are purchased together to create upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Companies can review purchase times and trends. Retailers can set up displays throughout the day to take action based on the data analytics that told them what products are more heavily sold during a specific time of day.

Retailers can also take note from Amazon.com who most notably began using the “If you like this product, then you’ll like that product” cross-sell/upsell method. Amazon.com uses big data to analyze multiple product purchases and the items that were purchased along with those items, and then introduces other products to new customers who might not have otherwise thought about the complementary product. Amazon.com also uses the “Other customers who bought this item also purchased that item” cross-sell/upsell method. Again, customers are being given silent but customized influence to buy more based on big data collected from many other transactions. Big data can also provide what products are more popular in what demographic. The more information the CRM can gather from the customer, the more specific the shopping experience can be.

Loyalty programs and retail store credit cards can contribute to the retailers’ big data. These programs, while beneficial for the shopper, tell retailers about each transaction they make, and help bring the customer back with customized and categorized coupons. They can bring the consumers in on slower days. Online retailers can track shopping cart activity and use that information for other consumers. The opportunities for leveraging big data are infinite. And the customer experience is benefiting from such activities; for example:

“By leveraging social media big data along with transaction data from CRM and billing systems, T-Mobile USA has been able to ‘cut customer defections in half in a single quarter.’”

If retailers study big data and leverage the information to improve the holiday customer experience, customers will save time, money and multiple frustrations trying to do it all on their own. Partner big data assistance with terrific customer service and support, and retailers—and customers—will have a holly jolly holiday.