Using Big Data to Help Retailers Improve Their Business
The term big data today can only be compared in popularity with the blockchain. However, despite the great interest, few people understand how this technology can be used in practice. We propose to understand the concept «big data» and see the possibilities of their application.
How did this term come about?
Information is becoming a valuable resource. Its analysis provides answers to many questions: what product may be of interest to the buyer, what composition of players on the field is the most effective, what is the probability of a thunderstorm beginning in a certain place at a given time, and much more.
The term big data itself, or «big data», appeared in 2008. His «father» became the editor of the scientific journal Nature, who was the first to pay attention to the voluminous arrays of information that mankind has. His thought was that their study and competent systematization can be the answer to a large number of questions. Despite the fact that monetization was at the root of the whole situation, the further development of the technology brought with it the solution of many problems..
The study of the possibilities of big data is focused on the following thesis: a huge amount of information accumulates around each person. Its analysis will make it possible to predict his desires and possibilities with great accuracy. The extracted metrics can be used to provide needed services and offers.
We asked Mikhail Medvedev, managing partner of the WannaNew project, to talk about big data:
— In modern conditions, information in production is very important. For the Russian economy, the possibilities of big data are endless. Domestic enterprises are known for their poor service, operational efficiency and risk management. With a sufficient level of infrastructure development, big data can solve these local problems. And if in terms of our oil and gas economy, the effectiveness of such solutions is lower, then in the digital competitive economy, in which we are striving, they become crucial. Big data capabilities will help solve the pressing problems of Russian enterprises. For example, endless bureaucracy, inability to lead the client through the sales funnel, ineffective strategic planning. This will lead to an increase in labor productivity and GDP, welfare of the population, average wages and other key metrics of the national economy. Big data challenge — help realize the potential of the world’s economy in terms of market size.
Big data in practice
To understand the real possibilities of big data, here are some examples..
One of the first cases of big data use, which caused a public outcry, was the collection of data from players of a German football club. For this purpose, sensors were built into the athletes’ knee-highs, which demonstrated the effectiveness of each player in real time. Additionally, information reading devices were installed along the perimeter. Through the collection of data, the coach was able to: determine the effective lineup for the game, adjust the positions of the players, receive data on the effectiveness of the strategy.
Coincidence or not, but in 2014 (the period when the technology was involved) the German national team was the winner of the World Cup.
Today, cognitive analysis is taking the lead in big data. The main feature is that with its help, the technique can independently adjust to the indicators, modifying the control, in order to achieve the maximum result.
Today big data — part of the work of some telecommunications companies. When a call is made, the system automatically generates a database of all the transactions previously performed by the client. Additionally, data from social networks can be connected. Here it is necessary to say hello to Mark Zuckerberg, thanks to which information about Facebook users became available to the consulting company Cambridge Analytica, and similar owners of social networks..
After analyzing all the data, the system provides the operator with the most effective line of conversation with the user..
If we are talking about the field of sales, the operator receives data on purchases that are most likely to be made by the user (the level of accuracy can reach 60% against the previous 4–8%).
At the exit, the company increases the level of sales, and the client receives the service that he really needed.
As an example, we can take global sales of the type «black friday». Walmart, the largest company, opens by time zone. At the same time, its representatives get a unique opportunity to adjust prices in real time. For this, data is collected from each opened store, which is subsequently processed to form a balance between price and demand. At the exit, Walmart receives an effective sale of goods.
Of course, it will not be possible to talk about all the possibilities of tactical use of data obtained as a result of big data analysis in our short article. Big data can be used for everything from police (mapping the most criminal areas) to medicine (building a symptom base to make an accurate diagnosis).
Venera Shaydullina, a representative of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, told in what areas big data can still be used:
• fast processing and face recognition in videos, photos and other images;
• organization of the movement of unmanned vehicles;
• solving social problems — in particular, analysis and processing of preferences of a huge number of respondents;
• retail applications — in particular, the use of big data will allow you to quickly process a huge number of pages on social networks and offer products to potential customers;
• banking — data processing according to the specified parameters will allow you to quickly analyze a potential client and make the right decision;
• marketing sphere — thanks to computerized analysis, it will be possible to select the places for opening retail outlets as accurately as possible.
The use of big data in our country
More and more companies begin to understand that their strength lies solely in the amount of available information. Collecting information does not scare anyone as long as it is done for good, but in fact there is a downside to the coin. One of the high-profile scandals related to the use of big data broke out between Double Data and VKontakte. The essence of the disagreement was as follows: representatives of the social network accused the company of illegal data collection. In fact, Double Data really accumulated information about users, transferring it to financial institutions in the future, in order to analyze the personality for making decisions on the issuance of loans. Given the love of VKontakte for the independent exploitation of user data, the essence of this scandal, apparently, was based on the fact that Double Data did not share their financial profit. By the way, the social network won the court, by the decision of which a requirement was put forward to prohibit the collection of site data for commercial purposes..
Taking into account the specifics of the possibilities of using the collected data, domestic organizations prefer to keep the fact of using the technology as a tool to increase sales in the shadows. Among the popular companies that openly declare the use of big data, the following cases can be distinguished: the work of the Central Bank on computing «black creditors», formation of a working system for the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant, analysis of its clients by Dom.ru.
In practice, in the absence of a clear delineation of concepts about the nature of data, many companies take the opportunity to capitalize on people’s addiction to disclosing their identity on the Internet..
Big data helps corporations to squeeze information about users from the Internet to the maximum. In the near future, a wave of regulation is likely to protect network users from unlawful encroachment on their personal data..
text: Evgeniya Likhodey, photo: Unsplash