Tracking customer in the data age

Businesses are collecting online and offline footprints of customers

By Author  |  Published: 24th Aug 2017  1:22 pmUpdated: 25th Aug 2017  9:05 pm

According to David Weinberger, author of Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, “the next darwin is more likely to be a data wonk than a naturalist wandering through an exotic landscape”

Businesses today are sitting on a mother lode of customer data. Almost every business worth its salt is using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to collect data about the online and offline footprints of the customer. Social media is another rich source of customer activity giving an up close and personal look at what interests him, piques him and indulges him.

India makes a fine case for Big Data analytics

With a population that is quite diverse in terms of caste, religion, social standing, language, age and purchasing preferences, India is ripe for Big Data applications. However, most of the data that is available is still unstructured and just a collection of disparate facts.

According to Gaurav Khurana, CMO, Payback India, problems and failures in implementing data analytics occur due to factors including strategy, people, culture, capacities, inattention to analytics details or the nuances of implemented tools.

The need of the hour is talented data scientists who can make sense of the data using relevant algorithms such that they can be put to use by businesses.

Ecommerce portals, the kings of customer content

With the growing size of consumption class in India, ecommerce portals of internet giants like Amazon, FlipKart, Snapdeal, ShopClues have seen promising growth. They all use data analytics to keep a tab on customer shopping preferences as per their demographic and can even integrate this information with a sensor powered network that collects information about his offline presence down to the day of the week and the prevailing weather. For instance, a retail portal can recommend purchase of warm clothing based on the weather of the day and pick a color based on the customer’s shopping history. For many of these ecommerce portals, data analytics has increased sales by a significant percentage. Case in point: Amazon gets 30 per cent of its sales from its recommendation engines alone.

Big Data beyond ecommerce

Businesses across industries, be it entertainment, healthcare, insurance, banking, food and drink are collecting customer data through online and offline presence. They may not all be using sophisticated data analytics but they are well on their way to using the data to engage customers actively. That leaves a lot of scope for improving customer interaction, engagement and retention. Businesses know the cost of losing a customer and the bigger cost of acquiring a customer. But with well-targeted technology, they can vastly improve their reach of customers.

The future of Big Data

The future of Big Data is a complex and rich as the possibilities it has to offer. India is all set to see the roll out of the world’s largest IoT network, fundamentally altering the way data is collected and put to use. It could suddenly see an explosion of data sources and it is not apparent if there are enough tools to connect the data dots and to put it to business use. But for those businesses which are paying attention, sky is the limit.