INNOVATION

Big Data: the All-Seeing Eye

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What do Marc Gasol, Netflix and the city of Mendoza have in common? All three of them benefited from Big Data, a concept that refers to the storage of large amounts of data and the procedures that find repetitive patterns within them. The tool suggested 34-year-old Catalan basketball player, who recently became world champion, that he launch more frontal than lateral three-pointers to optimize his efficiency. On the other hand, the famous platform, with around 150 million users, uses algorithms to make predictions such as what content is compatible with users and how long it takes to watch a series. Lastly, Mendoza was the first city in Argentina to adopt smart transport technology thanks to twenty indicators in the cloud that made it easier to understand the behavior of passengers.

Just as it happened with sports, entertainment or smart cities, Big Data has taken hold of several realms. And the realm of retail and shoppers is no exception. According to “IT Jobs, Professions with a Future,” a report published by Deloitte Consulting, “mobility, the cloud and Big Data technologies are promoting the emergence of new business models by changing the ways in which companies interact with their customers and by revolutionizing their internal processes.” Along these lines, Víctor Hugo Sotelo Huamaní writes the following on the website of the Peruvian ESAN University: “Retailers should not only worry about opening stores, having an effective supply and attracting customers with promotions. Today, organizing the information obtained and analyzing it is essential as it will allow them to make the right decisions when managing their resources. This is when Big Data steps in and organizes information to allow retailers to know what and how many they should buy. In this way, they will establish a profitable relationship with their suppliers and consumers, and they will obtain positive indicators.”

There are several experiences around the world that forge ahead on this path. An article published on the iProUP website explains how Black Swan, the London start-up that collects data and comments from social networks, Internet forums and websites, created artificial intelligence software that anticipates trends that will be all the rage. Big companies such as PepsiCo, Danone and McDonald´s turned to them to find out what consumers will buy in the future. “In the past, data and information were considered a source of expenditure. However, they have now become a strategic asset,” says Tim Warner, in charge of directing PepsiCo’s market research in Europe and Africa. Unilever, on the other hand, which has a market research department with over 700 employees, developed their own system to investigate consumer behavior in social networks and customer service channels. This initiative includes a tool that is very similar to Tinder, the dating app: people use their cell phones to indicate whether they like this or that product.

Another clear example of this phenomenon is Pusher-POP Smart, a tool that turns any store into a smart store to increase sales and, more importantly, create better shopping experiences. By using automated processing through neural networks and combining state-of-the-art hardware and software, businesses may obtain data about customer behavior in supermarkets and real-time information about product stock in shelves, as well as the possibility of communicating personalized messages, obtaining metrics that define the profile of customers and reducing theft rates through security systems. In this way, new business rules are created, which not only introduce unreleased products into the market but also improve customer loyalty and quality of service.

“We are living in the era of data. We all generate data, but data is no longer valuable in itself. What is valuable is what I do with data. Those who understand this will become the most disruptive and probably the most successful,” said Lorena Zicker, general manager of Intel in Argentina in an article published in El Cronista. In this article, the case of Lolli & Pops is also mentioned, which is a gourmet candy chain that has implemented technology that recognizes their most loyal customers as they walk through the door. When they approach the counter, vendors offer a personalized experience: they call them by their names and know their preferences.

In an opinion column published by Télam, Rubén Belluomo, commercial manager of Infor for the Southern Cone, shares a recent survey of innovation in retail which revealed that 90 percent of the companies surveyed believe that data analysis would help them increase sales, and for 58 percent of respondents determined that data was among their three main strategic priorities. “Gartner Consulting predicts that, by 2020, over 90 percent of the expenditure on supply chain management systems will consist of cloud-based platforms, which are generally more convenient, efficient and secure than on-premise systems,” says Belluomo.

Almost in the blink of an eye we go from storing gigabytes of information to terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and even zettabytes. According to the report published by Deloitte, in the next years, up to 75% of companies will invest in Big Data, since those who make an intelligent use of data will increase their activity by 8 percent. As Jeremy Waite, an IBM Watson Marketing expert, says in the report “The New Reality of Marketing”: “Big Data is getting bigger.”

To learn more about the solutions offered by Pusher-POP Smart and how to apply Big Data in retail, visit pusherpopsmart.com

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