There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s BIG DATA
Businesses have always been using data. Earlier this data used to be in the form of hard-copy records and ledgers. Analysis techniques and manual calculations were used to gain insights from the data and these insights were used to devise business strategy. Nowadays, the records are in a digital format and are much more numerous and complex. As the variety of the data has increased, so will its uses.
Big data has found its place in every industry and business irrespective of its size, scale, interests, and sector. In today’s highly competitive market, accurate and data-driven insights are necessary for survival. Today, I am going to tell you about big data and why it is important for your business.
Let us start by busting the myth that smaller businesses don’t have much to gain from big data. Imagine a grocery shop. It caters to the neighbourhood around it. The store’s owner and his two employees run the shop. You might assume that a small business like this doesn’t really require big data and data science to get by. Sure, while the shop may be able to get by but there are a lot of factors that may cause it to lose its customer base. Say the shop doesn’t have a particular person’s favourite brand of ketchup. The person will try to find it somewhere else and the shop just lost a customer.
The shop’s past transactions will show that the particular brand is popular and is out of stock. The owner may get that brand in stock again and save themselves from losing a loyal customer. While one such case may not seem significant such cases over time cause a drop in reputation and customer base.
Big data can tell us about patterns and trends that can give us valuable insights about customer interests and about how to retain our consumers. It can’t advise a business about turning its customers into loyal ones which are the key to any small business’s success.
There are many different and varied applications of big data in the industry today. Every sector has found a way to benefit from it. Here are a few use cases of big data in businesses.
The product suggestions done by e-commerce websites are done with the help of big data. The analysis algorithms find the most popular products which are then matched with the user’s search history and previous orders. This increases the chances of the customer making a purchase instead of simply window shopping. Another use the e-commerce sites have found for big data is secondary product suggestions. These suggestions are shown when a user is purchasing a product. The website shows products either related to the first product or something that is often purchased with the original product. This way the may buy even more than they were originally going to.
Many media streaming and purchase websites use user ratings and number of views to judge the popularity of particular content. They also use other factors like genre, length, cast, etc. and give recommendations to their users. Websites like YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, etc. use recommendation engines to provide the right content to the right users.
Manufacturing companies analyze raw data from social media to assess their customers’ sentiment regarding their products. This tells the business about the features their customers like and the ones which are not the most popular which helps them re-design and improve their products.
Predicting consumer demand
From large manufacturing firms to supermarkets and small shops, all of these businesses depend on customer demand. Using big data they can predict the rise and falls in market demand and maintain their inventory/manufacturing speed accordingly. This maximizes their profits and increases customer satisfaction.
Targetted online marketing
Using big data you can define your target audience for online advertisement and those ads can be shown to users whose search histories match with your targets. This increases the efficiency of the advertisement campaign.
Netflix has a large global following. People all over the world stream its high-quality content 24×7. Due to this, Netflix has a treasure trove of data about streaming habits and interests of people of all backgrounds, regions, races, genders, and age-groups. Netflix started as a DVD rental service. Its reliance on the postal system to deliver movie DVD’s was a cause for great losses.
In 2007, it turned the franchise around with its online streaming service. The streaming service was a huge success. An important factor contributing to this was the fact that now its customers could view the movies at their home without any delay unlike earlier where the physical DVD needed to be delivered. Another contributor was the cutting-edge (at that time) recommendation system. The recommendation system analyzed a user’s viewing history and suggested similar movies that the user might like. The recommendation system has evolved and uses multiple other factors to improve its suggestions now but it was a key factor in Netflix being the media giant it is today.
The Future belongs to those who believe in BIG DATA
Many people think of big data as some advanced sci-fi oracle that tells you how to make millions. Something that you need to invest a large amount of money into first before you reap the benefit. That is simply not true. Many tech giants have already invested time and money into it and now this technology is easily available to common people like you and me. Big data simply uses all the data that you gather knowingly and unknowingly and finds patterns in it to draw meaningful insights. These insights are to simply help you in your business strategy. No matter how big or small your business is. From tech giants to neighborhood stores. Everyone can benefit in some way or the other from big data.