Unlocking the next wave of growth in the retail sector


The retail industry is without doubt facing one of its most challenging periods. Harnessing customer insights to deliver operational value, streamlining operational processes, working to offer greater choice and convenience to customers whilst managing the growth of online shopping, all place huge pressure on organisations’ capabilities. Intense competition has caused a scramble to find efficient and effective ways to run retail businesses which meet demand and deliver a compelling customer experience, whether online or in-store.

Our research found that almost two thirds of decision makers in the retail industry feel better use of customer insights, trend data and information in and around their business will be key to unlocking the next wave of growth for their organisation. Furthermore, 74% recognise that transforming their organisational model to meet customer requirements will also play a fundamental role in preparing the business for growth.

This view from the top demonstrates how, despite a challenging environment, making sense of data to drive new business opportunities is fundamental to long-term success, and requires clear leadership and vision.

With businesses turning to big data to provide revenue opportunities and uncover new customer insights, the level of technology infrastructure required to support this can be complex and involve rethinking of the infrastructure, the tools and systems that IT has relied on for so many years. This change in complexity is something the retail industry is getting to grips with: 56% of respondents felt their organisation already has the infrastructure in place to embrace big data analytics, and just 2% felt they didn’t.

Yet while the majority feels the necessary infrastructure is in place, there are questions over the speed at which organisations can move and manipulate large and/or complex data sets for analysis. The bulk of respondents (44%) feel the analysis of large data sets could be done in hours, rather than the minority of 17% who feel it could be done in minutes and seconds, demonstrates the need for investments to be made which deliver real-time analysis capabilities.

In an increasingly digital world, companies can use big data to create successful customer loyalty and retention programs and personalise consumer interactions in meaningful ways, both of which are crucial to a strong bottom-line performance. However, doing this means analysing and making sense of this data in seconds and minute, not hours and days. This is where the next big opportunity lies for the retail sector to unlock the next wave of growth.

You can find the full report here, or join in the conversation on Twitter with @emcuki using #BigDataLeague.

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