How much of your customer’s data is actionable?

Retail / eCom   |   
Published May 10, 2015   |   

In one of my previous posts, I talked about how showrooming is causing offline retailers to lose business and how big data can help them attract and retain their customers.
If they are your regular customers who have the store’s loyalty points card and if you’re connected to them via their social media accounts too, you most probably have access to all the happenings of their lives. But how much of your customer’s data is actionable?
Greeting your customer at the billing desk by their first name is one thing. If they have been recently engaged and you know because of their social media activity, you can congratulate them. Some customers may find that as an invasion of privacy too. However, if you know from their Facebook timeline that they had been to the dentist’s office the day before, don’t ask them about any tooth ache they may be suffering from.  That is only going to annoy them. As a clothing retail store, the engagement news is actionable. You can offer your congratulations and maybe a special discount on items which are wedding related. But on the other hand their dentist appointment is not actionable. You have nothing to gain from the fact that your customer is into oral care.
So let’s take a look at what not to do:

Expect miracles: Only because of the excitement built around it, it’s unwise to expect big data to deliver more value than it can. It will help your business only when the data is actionable. It is not going to work all the time and solve all your problems. Hire data analysis experts do understand your data and make it actionable for your business.

Over-analyse the insights: If you know 1 out of 3 women like the ambience of the store and they visited your store after watching your advertisement on TV, don’t try to form a correlation between ambience and TV viewing. By over analysing, you will implement the wrong regulations. It won’t help your business for sure but it may also end up causing more damage to your current activities.

Ignore the existing information: If you’re finding it difficult to manage data with your existing ERP and CRM systems, you must enhance your analytics skills before adopting big data analytical tools for gathering insights into data. Use simple analytic tools like IBM’s SPSS before investing on very high end tools.

Eliminate the intuition factor altogether: This may sound like a cliché, but no amount of analytics can belittle the human intuition. Let me give you a very simple example. Going back to the engagement news, post or no post, the billing counter clerk can see the ring on your regular customer’s finger. Empower them enough to make managerial decisions and offer the special discount.

Hire wrong: There is a large skills gap when it comes to hiring big data analysts. People with only engineering background that lack substantive big data experience cannot provide much competitive advantage to your business. There is a large amount of data available and there are multiple mediums to gather the data. But there are only a few people who can analyse your data and provide you with actionable insights.