Forget Big Data – Retailers Need to Start Using Customer Buying Data to Address Business Issues

It seems like every conference you go to these days there’s always at least one ‘thought leader’ touting the massive benefits of big data. But how many business owners actually have the time, resources and budgets to invest in big data operations?

A 2014 Big Data in Retail Study showed that most CEOs still aren’t 100% sure what big data is, and the potential ROI of pursuing big data initiatives. Using multiple data sources like point of sale, social media, loyalty, weather, advertising, etc. to manage customers, is still a relatively new concept to non-tech savvy business owners.

But at the same time, business owners are well aware of the fact that they need to adapt to changing technologies to survive. And most are slowly warming to the idea of collecting and using data to address business problems. For retailers, that means looking into the most valuable data available to them, their customer buying data.




How Many Retailers are Actually Using their Customers Buying Data?

The number of small to midsize retailers who are currently collecting and using their customers’ buying data is however staggeringly low. And even high-end point of sale systems, don’t offer the ability to get a complete 360 degree view of customers in a simple dashboard.

This is where customer loyalty automation software comes in. There are currently a number of SaaS products that can easily integrate into retailer point of sale systems to collect customer buying data all the way down to the line items. This data is then used to build spend based profiles of buyers.

Some of the best South African customer loyalty systems, like The Loyalty Box, even give business owners the ability to set up and automate the sending of relevant SMS and email based promotions to specific customers based on their buying behaviour. The biggest surprise to most retailers is that systems like these will often come in at a fraction of the price of other older, less feature rich loyalty systems.


A Shift in Retailer Mindset

The mindset amongst forward thinking retailers nowadays needs to shift from what’s the next big thing, to what can I use right now to boost revenue this month. This change from dreaming about what’s possible to implementing what’s viable will drive a huge shift in the small to midsize retail market in 2015.

And while it may not be as sexy as big data, making better use of the data you currently have will ultimately impact your bottom line. And that’s what really counts.