Report From the NRF: Big Data is a Big Deal

Jan. 12, 2015

Report From the NRF: Big Data is a Big Deal Big Data and the role it plays benefitting all areas of commerce was a strong point of focus on day one of the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York, N.Y. Beyond just processing a large amount of data, panelists at the 104th version of the event made it clear successful retailing today is predicated on analyzing that data in new ways to gain enhanced insight into your company, and ultimately your consumers.

At one Sunday morning session, executives from the NBA, NHL, and other professional sports leagues talked about Big Data’s role in their organizations beyond understanding player performance. Fan’s understanding of the game is stats driven, but clubs now are turning to the numbers to understand what team merchandise is popular within specific demographics and to be able to stock inventory based on geographic region as well as create personalized shopping experiences for their fans based on purchase history, ticket preferences and the players they follow on social media.

Separately, an executive from Staples focused on the importance of knocking down silos within companies. While each business unit may each contain a separate set of data on a consumer, such as purchase history, interactions with the company on social media, promotional e-mail history, etc., the company as a whole can leverage better communication and systems to “stitch together” a complete picture of the customer. Each division of the business would benefit from such collaboration. He explained that, in a perfect world, the information collected internally across all departments and channels would be combined with external data to get a full view of the customer. Once you fully understand your customers, you can gain insightful information and action on this in real time. “Anyone not using Big Data is missing a huge informational wave,” he said.