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  • Cynthia Holcomb

The Big Data Disconnect

Retailers are struggling with Big Data because agnostic systems, that eliminate subjectivity, do not exist to process disconnected data points into relevant "customer sensory-preference” intelligence. We retailers still use subjective evidence to make expensive business decisions. Yes, the retail industry does need to change its thinking. It is not about the technology, yet technology is the only vehicle that can process and humanize the massive amounts of data collected by most large-scale retailers.

As an example, retailers have reams of recent customer purchase history. A plethora of rich, sensory-driven, customer product feedback, hiding in plain sight in the retailers Big Data. Using recent purchase history, accessed across all distribution channels [in store, digital] in real-time, retailers can spot trends and business intelligence on the fly, hourly! On the macro level, fresh, continuous customer insights, why did a product sell or why did a product not sell? New cognitive technologies will take the guesswork out of product assortments and vertical product development. Data processing systems, able to tell the retailer specifically what sensory attributes resulted in a sale or no sale; reducing markdowns, increasing sales, yielding a greater return on investment. On the micro-level, knowing your individual customer’s preferences, no more grouping people into buckets. Actually knowing exactly what products each customer prefers…to be used in individual marketing. Finally.

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