Big Data Technologies Driving the Revolution in Customer Interaction
The start of a new spring season brings the beginning of a new era in big data technology. Studies show 90 percent of professionals agree that big data will revolutionize operations the same way the internet did. Predictive technology is leading the way in this revolution, and it's becoming an essential function in building business strategies and customer relationships.
Today's customers expect seamless, personalized and consistent experiences wherever they shop. To meet this need, big data technologies are evolving to gain insights and foresee customer behaviors. Predictive analytics for customer engagement is a process that translates large quantities of data into business insights to calculate the likelihood of a future outcome. An analysis can include data such as a consumer's gender, intent, what he or she has done in the past, what channel he or she uses most, and even his or her geographical location.
The adoption of big data and predictive analytics is the foundation to staying competitive as benefits range from engaging customers with relevant content to larger cost savings to boosted customer loyalty. Consider the following points in further detail:
- Big data engages customers with relevant content. Infosys shows that 86 percent of customers said personalization influences their purchases, while 31 percent wished their shopping experience were more personalized. People want to engage with brands that are relevant to their interests. Brands can satisfy this need by delivering a behavior-based experience that's aware of customers' preferences. For example, beacon technology uses special sensors that connect with a customer's mobile device and gauge their activity in-store to create targeted product recommendations and promotional discounts — just like an in-store associate would. Name brands such as Joe's Jeans have experienced high levels of success by personalizing relevant content to customers.
- Big data technologies cut costs by enhancing marketing communications. Companies that rely only on traditional marketing methods such as direct mail or email blasts are at a competitive disadvantage. Gartner research shows that 73 percent of organizations have invested or plan to invest in big data in the next two years. This is up from 63 percent in 2013. Why is big data investment growing? These technologies help brands glean behavioral and contextual data and insights that can increase conversion rates, sales and create more meaningful connections with customers. Additionally, it helps brands create more targeted content for effective communication with customers. GameStop has done this well in the past, generating 14 percent of web revenue and a 41 percent increase in average order value from big data insights and personalization
- A personalized customer experience remains the secret to lasting brand loyalty. By focusing on consumer preferences, businesses can produce higher conversion rates, greater average order values and basket sizes, and longer and better customer life cycles. Shoppers are known to offer more personal data and information if it results in a better, richer experience, not just repeated spam. The key is to respect consumers' privacy and deliver a relevant and excellent experience.
Improving and personalizing the customer experience requires the right mix of new technologies, processes and strategies designed to address the changing hierarchy of consumer demands and needs. As businesses learn more about their customers through big data, brands can create a mutually rewarding relationship for long-term success.
Meyar Sheik is the CEO of Certona, an omnichannel personalization platform for retailers and brands.